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Michael Graham

Prof. Lisa Mahle-Grisez

English 1101-B53

November 30, 2017

The Lethal Road Hazard (Rough Draft)

There is a danger which grows every year, striking at random to destroy lives in

the blink of an eye. Each year it claims thousands of lives. The worst part is that this deadly

terror is completely preventable. This silent stalker is none other than those who use their

mobile devices while driving. These people put everyone at such an elevated level of risk, are

more likely to engage in this behavior, and will not stop in spite of the danger, that they should

be an offense punished under law.

Distracted driving claimed 3179 people and injured 431,000 in 2014 (Hayashi et

al. 1). Among those a percentage of them are those lost senselessly at the hands of drivers

choosing to text while driving. Deborah Hersman, a chairwoman for the National Transportation

Safety Board said, “Our nation is at a deadly intersection of mobility and connectivity”

(Hosansky). In March of 2010 eleven people lost their lives when a texting truck driver crossed

the median on a highway (“Cell Phone Use”).

Mobile devices are an incredible distraction on the road. Every time a driver

looks to their phone to text it removes the driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6

seconds (Hosansky). These few seconds even at 55 mph is more than the length of a football

field (Hosansky). Every driver is aware of how quickly conditions change over even that

distance, let alone the speeds driven on the highways today. There is a 2010 study that found

using a cell phone to email or text increases the likelihood of an accident by 163 times (Hart).
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One instance which demonstrates the danger is Xavier Davis-Bilbo who was tragically struck at

the age of 5 by a texting driver leaving the lower half of his body paralyzed (Hosansky).

There are many other distractions which can draw a driver’s focus from the road.

Contenders to bans on texting while driving are quick to point out that eating or drinking while

driving, passengers, and even music can become a distraction while driving. When four states

within the United States do not have laws against texting shows some disagreement on their

value (Kennerly). Still among them, “…texting is the most alarming because it involves

cognitive, visual and manual distractions” (Kennerly). Another way to say this is, while other

distractions may involve some level of mental acuity, none of them demand as much from a

driver.

A lack of current data also prevents true site into this issue. One study that was

conducted in 2003 on accidents the year before, but was not released till 2011 said only 240,000

accidents were due to the distraction of a cell phone (“Cell Phone Use”). Since the time this data

was collected, cell phones have become far more prevalent in society. This insufficient data

does not support the idea this problem is not real. Trends do seem to support this as a study by

the National Safety Council set their estimate at 341,000 to 910,000 accidents owing their

existence to cell phones (Hayashi et al. 1).

Even with the numbers where they are, there is little doubt that cell phone use

while driving is dangerous. One study by Accident Analysis and Prevention may offer a peek

into why texting while driving is so pervasive. It found a link between higher impulsivity and

those who text while driving (Hayashi et al. 79). Have we as humans become so impulsive the

dangers of taking your eyes off the road take a back seat to the need to see the smattering of text

and heart eye smiley faces? Please explain the need to check that text to the family of Taylor
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Sauer who rammed a tanker truck at 80 mph (Hosansky). Taylor’s last text sent which was so

important it cost her life, “I can't discuss this now. Driving and Facebooking is not safe! Haha”

(Hosansky). The impulsivity and necessity to check the phone and reply likely cost her life.

Texting while driving endangers everyone on the road, and the loss of life to this

act is completely unnecessary. Thousands of lives every year are horrifically lost to these

distracted drivers, and among them are not only these drivers. Children and innocent drivers just

following the laws are more often the ones who pay the price. The problem is that those who

engage in it are impulsive to the point they are either blind to the danger, or mistakenly confident

in their own ability while texting. Only one solution will help to curb this insanity, and that is to

embed a cost to being caught in this dangerous act through prohibition laws. Then take the next

step to enforce those laws which would need to enable law enforcement to stop offenders. If we

could all just stop texting while driving, the world would be so much safer.
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Works Cited

"Cell Phone Use While Driving May Not Always Pose a Danger." Cell Phones and Driving,
Greenhaven Press, 2011.
link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/EJ3010743204/OVIC?u=dayt30401&xid=d02bff34.
Accessed 20 Nov. 2017.

Hart, Christopher A. "Cell Phone Use While Driving Should Be Banned." Cell Phones and
Driving, Greenhaven Press, 2015.
link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/EJ3010743221/OVIC?u=dayt30401&xid=c915e09c.
Accessed 20 Nov. 2017.

Hayashi, Yusuke, et al. "Texting While Driving, Executive Function, and Impulsivity in College
Students." Accident Analysis and Prevention, vol. 102, 01 May 2017, pp. 72-80.
EBSCOhost, doi:10.1016/j.aap.2017.02.016.

Hosansky, David. "Distracted Driving." CQ Researcher, 4 May 2012, pp. 401-24,


library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/cqresrre2012050400.

Kennerly, Ellen. "Reducing Traffic Deaths." CQ Researcher, 17 Feb. 2017, pp. 145-68,
library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/cqresrre2017021700.