Driving while texting

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Excerpts from Articles on Driving and Cell Phones

Fall 2007 ENG 101 Common Argumentative Essay Assignment

Driving while texting:

“The first reported incident of DWT may have been in Tennessee in 2005, when a man died while texting when he lost control of his pickup and plunged down an embankment. In Colorado that same year, a teenager served 10 days in jail after he struck and killed a bicyclist while texting a friend.

A study conducted by Nationwide Mutual Insurance that was released this year found that 19% of all drivers – and 37% of drivers between the ages of 18 and 27 – text message behind the wheel. DWT seems particularly common among kids.”
“Few opponents argue that driving and texting – any more than driving and drinking – is a good idea. Instead, opponents focus on the dearth of statistics showing that wireless devices cause crashes. Indeed, there are few data suggesting that texting causes more wrecks than, say, fast food. A study conducted by the state of Washington in 2006 blamed ‘driver distractions’ for 7.5% of the 50,000 reported accidents during the first nine months of that year. Of that number, the study said distractions prompted by ‘operating a handheld communications device,’ including text messaging, came in fifth, statistically in line with the grab-bag category of ‘driver interacting with passengers, animals or objects.’”


Cooper, Christopher. “Should Driving while Texting be a Crime.” Wall Street Journal

No Pub. date MSN Money 22 Sept. 2007 http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Insurance/InsureYourCar/ShouldDrivingWhileTextingBeACrime.aspx?page=1
“Nine out of ten (91%) American adults believe that sending text messages or emails while driving is distracting, dangerous, and should be outlawed, according to a new survey commissioned by mobile messaging service Pinger, Inc. and conducted by Harris Interactive ®. Similar numbers (91 percent) of adults thought that drivers distracted by sending text messages or mobile email were as dangerous as drivers who had a couple of drinks.”

“The survey also revealed that:

  • 64 percent of adults who admitted to sending text messages while driving were between the ages of 18 and 34, while only 6 percent were 55 or older

  • Men and women sent text messages while driving at equal rates.”


“Nine of 10 Americans Would Support New Laws to Ban Driving While Texting,

According to New Poll.” News and Information 7 Aug. 2007 PR Newswire 22 Sept. 2007


DWT and Laws:

“Phoenix police will begin pulling over motorists seen texting while driving Thursday in the wake of the Phoenix City Council’s decision Wednesday to ban the practice inside the city limits.

From now until October 19, anyone seen texting while driving will be subject to a warning from Phoenix police. After that, drivers will face fines of up to $250 plus $210 in surcharges.”
“Texting while driving will be considered a primary offense, meaning that a police officer can pull someone over solely for messaging.

Violators will be cited with a nonmoving civil traffic violation. No points will be assessed against their drivers’ licenses.”


“Texting-while-driving Ban Passed.” AZ Central 19 Sept. 2007 22 Sept. 2007


“The [New Jersey] Legislature is considering a bill to outlaw D.W.T. (one of its sponsors, Paul D. Moriarty, admitted to sometimes using his BlackBerry while driving).

Some states already ban talking on a cell phone behind the wheel unless a headset is used, and Washington joined that group yesterday. But while reading or other distracting activities may not actually be illegal behind the wheel, more legislators seem to be worried about the danger of multitaskers tapping away without coming to a stop.”
“Not everyone advocates legislation. Jonathan Adkins, spokesman for the Governors Highway Safety Association, said that such laws, while well intended, were difficult for police to detect or enforce.”

Richtel, Matt. “Hands on the Wheel, Not on the Blackberry.” New York Times. 12 May

2007, late eastern ed.: C1. Proquest Newspapers. Proquest. Glendale Community College Library Media Center, Glendale, AZ 24 Sept. 2007
“Currently five states (California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Washington) and Washington D.C. ban the use of handheld cellphones while driving, and 16 more plus the District of Columbia restrict their use by young drivers. But the laws are difficult to enforce.”

Alexander, Max. “Driving Safety: Distracted Drivers.” Reader’s Digest Oct. 2007 22

Sept. 2007 http://www.rd.com/content/driving-safety-distracted-drivers/
“As with a number of other safety issues, the UK is ahead of us on this particular unsafe practice. […] Police in England routinely obtain mobile phone records of drivers involved in serious or fatal road accidents. The use of a phone during an accident may be regarded by the courts as an aggravating factor in the same way as drunk driving. It may result in jail time for the employee. And employers may pay through the legal theory of negligent entrustment: by allowing employees to text while driving, the employer made the accident possible. UK employers have been advised to prohibit cell phone talk for employees who are on the road.”


Coppelman, John. “DWT/Driving While Texting: An Idea Whose Time has Went.”

Lynch Ryan’s Weblog. 16 March 2007. Workers Comp. Insider. 22 Sept. 2007


Driving Distractions

“The survey of 1,200 drivers revealed that the top 10 things respondents admitted to doing behind the wheel (besides driving) are adjusting their audio system, 82%; drinking a beverage, 80%; talking on a cell phone, 73%; eating a snack, 68%; eating a full meal, 41%l daydreaming, 31%; driving without shoes, 28%; experiencing road rage, 23%; listening to books on tape/CD, 21%; and smoking, 21%.”

“[…] Such distractions are the primary cause or a contributor to 25% to 50% of auto accidents, Peter Kissinger, the president and chief executive officer of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, told USA Today.”
“The Foundation for Traffic Safety and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute joined together in a study showing that a driver who looks away from the road for two or more seconds is almost twice as likely as an attentive driver to be involved in a crash or near crash.”


Lauer, Charles S. “Driving while Distracted.” Modern Healthcare 4 June 2007: Vol.37

Issue 23. MasterFile Premier. EBSCOhost. Glendale Community College Library Media Center, Glendale, AZ 22 Sept. 2007
“The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found, in a study released in April 2006, that the vast majority of accidents-nearly 80 percent-could be prevented if drivers paid more attention. […] The real-world study involved 100 cars fitted with cameras and sensors, driven nearly two million miles. Participants had 82 real accidents and 761 near crashes.”
“Gadget-obsessed teen drivers are perhaps the most distracted. In a national survey from State Farm Insurance and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia released in January, more than half of teens polled said they saw other teens driving while text messaging or using handheld games and other tech gear.”
“Most significantly, the researchers [National Advanced Driving Simulator] found virtually no difference in reaction time between those using handheld phones, hands-free headsets and speakerphones-although drivers fumbling with clamshell phones did exhibit a greater tendency to over-compensate on steering corrections.”

“Conclusion? ‘The distraction is not so much the physical act of using the phone as the process of talking and thinking,’ says senior team leader Omar. Ahmad. So why is talking on a cell phone say worse than chatting with a passenger? ‘Someone in the car is aware of the surroundings and can modulate the conversations based on the situation,’ he explains. ‘A person on the other end of the cell phone can’t see the traffic and is unlikely to pause when a car pulls out in front of you.’”


Alexander, Max. “Driving Safety: Distracted Drivers.” Reader’s Digest Oct. 2007 22

Sept. 2007 http://www.rd.com/content/driving-safety-distracted-drivers/

“They [Americans] believe cell phone use while driving is constitutionally guaranteed. And you know some hair-ball lawyer will argue First Amendment rights violations should we take away someone’s ‘right’ to speak; forget my rights not to be plowed into be a blabbing soccer mom, an overachieving Type-A businessman losing a deal or a zit-faced teen breaking up with his girl.”

“You can imagine, as do I, that there is too strong a phone lobby that won’t let sanity prevail. It doesn’t want us to reduce airtime. Where are the politicians angling to save us from ourselves with legislation curtailing phone use? Take a look at their PAC fund contributions.”


Mandel, Dutch. “Shut up and Drive.” Autoweek. 22 May 2006. Vol. 56 Issue

21.MasterFile Premier. EbscoHOST. Glendale Community College Library Media Center, Glendale, AZ. 22 Sept. 2007

Cell phone use and driver aggression

“Using 2 field procedures, the authors assessed impacts of cell phone use on mild forms of driver aggression. […] The present results suggested that driver cell-phone use contributes to the growing crisis of roadway aggression.”


McGarva, Andrew, Matthew Ramsey and Suzanna A.Shear. “Effects of Driver Cell

Phone Use on Driver Aggression.” Journal of Social Pschyology. 4 April 2006 Vol.146 Issue 2 133-146. MasterFile Premier. EbscoHost. Glendale Community College Library Media Center, Glendale, AZ. 24 Sept 2007

New technology

“When a computer generated creature reads text messages to drivers so as ‘not to be a distraction,’ I shake my head in disgust. US Telematics, the firm behind this tool says there is a valid reason for it: 20 percent of people read and send text messages while driving. Among drivers 18 to 34 years old, that jumps to 33 percent.”

Charlene Montalbano, product manager for Vivee, “Voice Interactive Voice Enhanced E-mail,” says “Now lawmakers are becoming more precise and targeted in the approach to eliminating driver distractions by considering laws that specifically ban text-messaging and reading e-mail while driving. […] Vivee will not only keep your focus safely on the road, ultimately, ‘she’ may help you avoid a ticket.”


Mandel, Dutch. “Why Can’t We be Left Alone?” Autoweek. 23 July 2007. Vol.57 Issue

30. MasterFile Premier. EbscoHost. Glendale Community College Library Media Center, Glendale, AZ 24 Sept. 2007

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