The 21st century has been associated with an advanced technology and in particular an enhancement in information technology. The advancement in communication through the use of mobile phone has greatly impacted many sectors positively. Cell phones are very important devices in the modern world because they have greatly boosted successful communication.
Effective and efficient communication has in return facilitated the performances of businesses and organizations. Despite the many advantages that are associated with cell phones, cell phones have also been associated with a number of challenges among them being linked with facilitating an increase in crimes and accidents.
Many people have blamed the cell phones to the current high increases in the number of road accidents witnessed worldwide, while others argue that the use of mobile phones while driving is not wholly to blame for the rise in accidents since there are also other vital causes such as over speeding, bad weather, sleepiness, driving while drunk among others.
Road accidents account for about 1.3 million deaths and an approximately between 20 to 50 million injuries annually. It is noted that road accidents is among the three most prevalent causes of deaths for those people aged between five to fifty years. In addition it is noted that the governments use billion of dollars annually as costs that results from these accidents.
Thus, there is a dare need to implement better road usage mechanisms that will guarantee responsible road usage (Powers 2). The introduction of these mechanisms will ensure adherence of proper road usage practices that will help to cut down the high rates of accidents that are associated with poor road usage and especially to those drivers that use their cell phone while driving.
It is common that any law legislation that aims at prohibiting usage of cell phone while driving is likely to experience a lot of resistance from many people globally. Most resistance is likely to come from those people that are of the opinion that there is no offense in simultaneously driving and using the cell phone. This is in contrast to many researches conducted on the causes of road accidents.
Majority of these researches have identified the use of cell phone while driving as a major contributing factor to the high increase in the road accidents witnessed nowadays. They depict that the use of mobile phone while driving disrupts an individual’s concentration significantly such that one is not in a good position to deal with emergencies effectively (Banning the use of cell phones while driving makes sense par. 4).
It is generally accepted that the use of mobile phone while driving creates a considerable rise in the number of accidents both to the user and other road users. This is because its use impairs the drivers’ control of the vehicle and in addition, it reduces a driver’s awareness of the roads happenings. The two major factors contributors of road accidents while driving can be categorized in two; Physical detractors and cognitive distracters (The Royal Society for prevention of accidents 2).
The physical distraction occurs when drivers remove one hand from the steering wheel to use their cell phone. Moreover, drivers occasionally remove their eyes from the road as they pick and replace their cell phone or while dialing. The cognitive disruption occurs when two or more cognitive activities are executed simultaneously.
When this happen, the effectiveness of the performance of these tasks is much compromised compared to a situation where it is only one task that was being executed. The performance is reduced because the attentiveness is often divided or switched between the two activities and the two compete for common cognitive processes. Therefore whenever a driver uses the cell phone while driving, what this means is that he/she has to operate the phone and maintain the phone conversation.
Similarly, the drive will also be required to control the vehicle and ensure he/she responds occasionally to the changing traffic conditions. This is not an easy task for many. These two kinds of disruptions are the one that boosts accidents for those drivers that use the phones while driving (The Royal Society for prevention of accidents 3).
Despite all these allegations that use of mobile phone while driving increases road accidents, it is surprisingly that use of cell phone while driving is not the leading cause of road accidents. Over speeding and bad weather are rated among the leading causes of road accidents worldwide.
Over speeding continuously remains the leading cause of road accidents, despite the various programs launched worldwide aiming to create awareness about the risks associated with speeding. There is no much that have been achieved. The recommended speed limits vary from one nation to the other, but there is one thing that holds; the faster you drive, the more risky you are prone to accident and other road users.
Bad weather is considered as the next leading cause of road accidents. Bad weather such as rain, snow or fog is known to facilitate accidents as a result of slippery roads and blurred visibility. Thus, drivers are advised to drive extra carefully, while driving in these conditions as they have limited control on them. Driving while drunk or high with drugs is also a significant contributor of increased risks of road accidents. Use of alcohol and drugs reduces the body’s reflexes which makes an individual more aggressive.
Drunk drivers exhibit more aggressive behaviors such as driving too close to the vehicle in front or applying the brakes forcefully (Nita par.3). In addition, drunkards are known to be reckless and not able to see the consequences of their actions. This is why driving while drunk is prohibited by law. Sleepiness is also a leading cause of road accidents. For instance approximately 100,000 accidents due to sleepiness are recorded in U.S. annually (Launce par.5).
Thus, the high rise is road accidents cannot only be blamed on the increased use of mobile phones while driving. There are other factors that have been identified that increase road accidents in a greater extent than the use of the mobile phones while driving. Among the other factors highlighted as major cause of accidents are over speeding, bad weather, driving while drunk and sleepiness.
Nevertheless, this does not mean that the use of mobile phone while driving is not an issue to be worried about, drivers should ensure that they put into consideration all the factors that are linked with increase risks in road accident and act responsibly to safeguard their life and that of other road users such as pedestrians. By observing these safety precautions, many lives will be saved and the State will save the huge costs that are associated with road accidents and being invested elsewhere.
Banning the use of cell phones while driving makes sense. 28 Jan. 2011.Web.18 July, 2011
Launce, Kim. Cell Phone Statistics. 19 Aug. 2010. Web. 18 July, 2011.
Nita. Drunk driving is a major cause of accidents in India.7 Dec.2006 Web. 18 July, 2011
Powers, Tom. 10 Reasons Why Road Accidents Happen And Finding Legal Representation.2005 Web. 18 July, 2011.
The Royal Society for prevention of accidents. The Risk of Using a Mobile Phone while Driving.18 Aug. 2004. Web.18 July, 2011