Car and Driver: Texting and Driving.
As you are driving down the road and you feel your phone vibrate and it is a text message. The
million dollar question is that do you take out your phone to text back or do you wait till your car is
parked. The answer seems easy to some people but most 16 to 23 year olds think differently. When
having the phone out while driving it is a distraction and should be put away so people can focus the
road. As time goes on the new phase of texting is becoming popular and you see everyone in every age
group text while they drive. On the road we see inexperienced drivers that are good at texting and good
drivers that are inexperienced at texting. This is something new and developing everyday and it is
becoming more serious as people are getting hurt or even killed from texting and driving.
Cell Phone and Texting laws:
There are laws set aside for using cell phone while driving because it is a distraction to the
drivers and it prevents them from focusing on the road. When having the cell phone out it risks the
driver’s life and other people that are driving as well. The driving and cell phone laws are split up in two
ways; text messaging and handheld cell phones. With handheld cells phones the Governors Highway
Safety Association reports that “8 states prohibit all drivers from using handheld cell phones while
driving.” Eight states seem very few on how many people have died from using their cell phone. This law
means that all drivers cannot use their cell phone while driving. This is smart but yet some people need
to talk on the phone while they drive and cannot wait till they stop. The biggest thing that is growing is
texting and driving laws. With having texting and driving more popular it brings more people to cause
crashes. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association 30 states ban all text messaging while
driving and 11 out of the 30 were issued in 2010. One third of the issued states were made this year and
that shows that this is a really growing problem that people are texting and driving. The penalty varies
from state to state if caught texting and driving the officers only issue a fine. The laws should be more
harden with how many lives that are lost from texting and driving, and also many people would argue
that every state should have a law against texting and driving. Only 8 states ban all cell phone use for all
drivers but some states ban them for certain drivers. For example the GHSA states that “28 states ban all
cell phone use for novice drivers which are 18 or younger” (GHSA). Also for school bus drivers in 18
states cannot use a cell phone when passengers are present. Laws are being enforced for using cell
phones while driving but people are still doing it and also it is not helping.
Most commonly people text in the picture above, one hand on the wheel and one hand on the
cell phone. The message may be hard to read but it says “texting and driving is…” and people are doing
this everyday despite the laws that are out. Suzanne Choney did a report on texting and driving does not
reduce crashes and says “drivers who continue to text while driving are doing it more surreptitiously
hiding their phones form the view of other drivers and law enforcement, increasing the risk of an
accident even more” (Choney). Now people are hiding their phones more now away from everything
and cause more accidents when the bans are in place. As for enforcing the bans the police should be
doing a better job enforcing them more rather than talking on their phone while they drive. Ever since
the bans for texting and driving are out the following states: California, Washington, Minnesota, and
Louisiana a test was done to see if the bans have helped or not. In a surprising turn the results are not
what we have hoped for. Out of the 4 states 3 of them increased in crashes since the bans came out and
this shows that people are doing it still and the laws are not helping.
“A lack of enforcement is a likely reason texting bands aren’t reducing crashes especially
younger ones, shrug off these bans. Among 18-24 year olds, the group likely to text, 45 percent reported
on doing so anyway in states that bar all drivers that text. This is just shy of the 48 percent of drivers
who report texting in states without bands” (Choney).
Shocking, yes, make sense, no. People do it all the time and they believe that police are not
putting a foot in the door to stop this. I have known people who do it still this and not have heard one of
them get caught. Police should enforce this more or just ban cell phones completely to have people less
distracted from the roads.
Texting and Driving: The Cold Facts
The meaning of the cold facts about texting and driving that it sends chills up and down the
spine when you learn how scary it is. As explained above that the majority of teens ignore cell phone
and driving restrictions. While talking on a cell phone the reaction time changes it makes a young
driver’s reaction time as slow as a 70 year olds reaction time. I’m not making fun of 70 year olds just
saying that different age groups have different reaction times. The Edgar Snyder and Associates say
“texting while driving is about 6 times more likely to result in an accident than driving while intoxicated”
(Edgar Snyder and Associates). While people are texting and driving they are taking their eyes off the
road and that makes them more vulnerable to a crash. We hear a lot about driving while intoxicate but it
is more likely that you will get in a crash if you text and drive. Despite driving in a car while texting “a
truck driver texting while driving is 23.2 more likely to get into an accident than a trucker paying full
attention on the road” (Edgar Snyder and Associates). The truck drivers risk more than car drivers and
the reason being is that it is harder to see while in a semi.
As I said before that 30 states are banned for texting and driving and Pennsylvania is not one of
them. In fact this state has no laws against using a cell phone while driving. In Pennsylvania alone “there
were 1,298 cell phone related accidents in 2008. Of those accidents 9 resulted in death” (Edgar Snyder
and Associates). Just in the year before there were about 200 crashes and 3 deaths short of 2008 stat.
From the years 2003 and 2006 phone related accidents rose to 43% in western Pennsylvania. Also in the
margin of years there were 50 deaths that caused from using the cell phone while driving. If that doesn’t
bring chills up your spine I don’t know what will. People in Pennsylvania should put down the law like
the other 30 states to have the numbers go down. One last bone chilling fact that is out there for
Pennsylvania is the Edgar Snyder and Associates have reported “accidents involving talking or texting on
a cell phone rose from 168 in 2003 to 228 in 2005 in the Western Pennsylvania region. That is a 36%
increase in over two years” (ESA). Every state should have this banned but some states like Pennsylvania
don’t, and it is causes unwanted crashes and innocent lives lost.
There are ways to avoid crashes like in the above picture, and one idea is to stop texting and
driving. As we seen before that the laws do not prevent teens from texting while driving, and in some
cases made it worse. One idea is out that could prevent teens from texting is target the teens before
they start driving and show the danger of texting and driving. In White River Junction, Vermont they had
an obstacle course set up with a golf cart and cones and tested teens to see if they could drive and text
at the same time. One of the teens was Kamy Mayott she has been told how dangerous it was until she
actually tested it out. The results were that she took out a whole row of cones while driving the golf
kart. ““It definitely taught me to be careful and not to text while driving because I’m going to kill
somebody,” Mayott said” (Rathke). This is a great idea that they are doing this in the state of Vermont
and helps the teens that are about to drive all the dangers that are on the roads. The Vermont
Department of Motor Vehicle enforcement says “We’re finding a 400 percent average increase in driving
errors, and so when you have a 400 percent increase in amount of mistakes you’re making and your
reaction time slows dramatically, the proof is in the data”(Rathke). As the results from the teens driving
through the coarse two times, and one while texting and driving it gives them an open picture on what it
is really like and they hope the information sinks in.
Texting or Drinking While Driving
As we all know that both texting and drinking are bad to do while driving but, which one is really
worse. With a blood alcohol level of .08 or below you can drive a car legally. With having texting while
driving illegal in over half of the United States the question is which one slows down reaction time the
most. There are many ways to do this experiment but the guys at Car and Driver did an excellent test to
show which slows down reaction time either texting or drunk driving. This is the first test that has been
conducted in a real car that is being driven. The test will be taken to compare results for texting and
drunk driving on the same day under the same conditions. The test was set up a system that will test
reaction time to the driver. “Our long term Honda Pilot served as the test vehicle. When the red light on
the windshield lit up, the driver was to hit the brakes. The author, riding shot gun would use a hand held
switch to trigger the red light and monitor the driver’s results” (Austin). This is a good test in a way to
measure the time it takes the driver to react to the light on the wild shield. The test included three
people and three different types of phones but one they didn’t include in the test. The people were
“Web intern Jordon Brown, 22, armed with an IPhone, would represent the younger crowd. The older
demographic would be covered by head honcho Eddie Altnerman, 37 (or 259 in dog years), using a
Samsung Alias. (Altnerman also uses a Blackberry for e-mail. We didn’t use it in the test)” (Austin). The
first that they did was having a control test with no texting or no drinking at 35mph then at 70mph.
Then repeated the procedure once reading the text message then typing what they had just read out
The next test they did was driving while impaired and did the same test at 35 (left) and 75 (right)
mph so they could compare the data to texting and driving. For the 35 mph you can see the base line for
both people were pretty much the same but as you get to reading and writing the text it changes
dramatically for Alterman but for brown it stayed the same. At the 70 mph reading it also stayed even
for Brown and the results were much worse for Alterman. For him it took him the most time to react
when he was texting and drove for an extra 70 feet without hitting the breaks. On the side of being
impaired compared to driving the stats show that it is more dangerous to text and drive than being
drunk. The reaction times for reading and text message were high compared to driving drunk. This test
covered city and highway speeds and shows that text messaging distracts the person driving and slows
down the overall reaction time.
After reading all this information you may think twice on not texting while driving again but
others may do it anyway it’s all up to the person. Now you may have an answer to that million dollar
question if it comes to the time if you need to response to the text or not. What this paper was
supposed to be was to argue against texting and driving and I am strongly against it. It is a very serious
issue if you really think about it and it also risks people’s lives when you do it. People are not worried
about getting into a crash or killing someone. The facts are right in front of you listen to them or not just
when you have a text message when you are driving either pull to the side of the road or wait till you are
1. Austin, Michael. "Vehicle History Report Advertisement Texting While Driving: How Dangerous is
it?" Car and Driver . N.p., 05 Jun 2009. Web. 9 Nov 2010.
2. "Campaign against texting seems misplaced." Archive for the ‘driving’ tag. Web. 16 Nov 2010.
3. "Car Accident Cell Phone Statistics." Edgar Snyder and Associates. A law Firm Representing
Injured People. Edgar Snyder & Associates, n.d. Web. 16 Nov 2010.
4. "Cell Phone and Texting Laws." Governors Highway Safety Association. Governors Highway
Safety Association, 10 Nov 2010. Web. 15 Nov 2010.
5. Choney, Suzanne. "Texting-while-driving bans don't reduce crashes, institute says." Technolog
on MSNBC. N.p., 28 Sep 2010. Web. 9 Nov 2010.
6. "Florida's texting while driving problem - similiar to drunk driving? ." South Florida Injury Lawers
Blog . Web. 15 Nov 2010.
7. Rathke, Lisa. "Teens learn dangers of texting while driving." Boston.com. N.p., 16 May 1010.
Web. 4 Nov 2010.