Mobile Devices and Motion don't Mix
Alexander • Frederick, MD
While it is clearly irresponsible to perform simultaneous texting and driving, I do not believe mobile devices should be banned everywhere while driving. The operation of a mobile device should only be done when the driver is at a complete stop for a period of time, such as waiting at a red traffic light. These periods would be suitable for briefly managing one's texts, so long as the driver can realize when they must begin to accelerate (Somebody sitting at a green light would be infuriating for the drivers behind them). I would also encourage the taking of calls while not driving. Even with a hands free set, both making and taking calls can be a distraction from paying attention to what is occurring on the road. Some individuals, who spend hours each day driving for the sake of their occupation, are experienced and skilled enough to successfully talk and drive without causing an accident. However, there are plenty of other people who share the road that drive on a vastly lesser basis, who may experience difficulty doing both at once. Combined with the potential for accidents to happen even among the most veteran drivers (Nobody is perfect, and things can happen beyond your control), it would not be worth the risk to make calls while actively traveling on the road.
An example where an experienced driver is still at risk even on the phone is in the case of my Dad. In order for my Dad to carry out his job he is forced to drive great distances to reach his clients (Has had the same job for about ten years). He drives to locations that are fairly widespread over the Maryland area, and it's common for him to drive around one hundred and fifty miles nearly every day. Recently he almost got into an accident on his way to a client. As my dad was on the phone with his boss he noticed another driver accelerating past him in the lane immediately to the right. This other driver was on his phone as well, and once he got far enough proceeded to cut my Dad off by shifting into his lane. Before my Dad could slow down the driver who cut him off slammed on the brakes because of the sudden deceleration in traffic. Fortunately, my Dad was able to swerve into the right lane in time to avoid a rear end collision. Despite the fact that my Dad is an experienced driver things could have turned rather nasty. It's even possible that the other driver was just as experienced if not more, but still enacted poor judgment on the situation at hand. Perhaps the phone call was not even related to why the other driver decided to act the way he did. The true reason behind the incident will never come to light, but taking calls is certainly a factor that could have contributed to the other driver's actions. When it comes to the occurrence of accidents and the loss of life that may follow, I believe it is worth increasing their chance for prevention by doing all in one's power to maintain proper attention on the road. Small things that can happen while driving may cause a split second distraction, but that may be enough time for the birth of a dangerous situation.