According to a study conducted by LaVallee (2009), about 1.6 million auto accidents are directly linked to cellphone texting while driving. Even though people acknowledge that texting while driving is a major cause of accidents, they are not willing to restrain from such behavior voluntarily. In a bid to address this challenge, the US government via the policymaking agencies, citizens, and lobbyist movements is sensitizing the public on the effects of texting while driving.
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Based on this suggestion, this paper aims at establishing the impact of text messaging on driving performance and the risks related to this malpractice. The paper will conclude by arguing that texting while driving has negative effects on one’s driving performance. The findings will show how drivers are distracted coupled with possible consequences for public safety and device modification.
Currently, the world of technology is experiencing a significant revolution. Devices such as cellphones have made a great impact on communication patterns by enabling many people to network almost from any point of the world. Consequently, a noticeable shift in the increase of distracting events of drivers has taken place and the trend continues to evolve with time. As shown by Pascual-Ferra, Liu, and Beatty (2012), drivers engaging in any dual-task situation indicate slower response rates upon the onset of events that need quick controls as compared to focus driving.
In particular, drivers engaged in texting are victims of more crashes as compared to their counterparts involved in other dual-task exercises. The research question will answer why text messaging is the most destructing dual-task activity while driving. To answer this question this paper will argue that text messaging while driving is the prime cause of dual-tasks-related accidents and drivers do not understand the dangers associated with texting while driving. The article will develop a unique angle to suggest that text messaging entails switching attention between events respectively rather than dividing attention between two activities like in the case of talking to a passenger.
Importance of this topic
This topic offers the audience a unique understanding of the risks associated with driver distraction and its implication on public safety. The pain and suffering of families and relatives following text messaging-linked crashes are unfathomable. This assertion implies that accidents will continue to occur provided drivers are not willing to change their attitudes towards texting while driving. Achieving road safety starts with the drivers changing their attitudes towards texting while driving.
If they can reexamine the amount of time spent not focusing on the road and see the possible dangers that they pose to others, it will be a step forward towards road safety. The belief that drivers have the ability to multitask is overrated. Switching vision is risky since texting demands additional cognitive resources to articulate the message and create intended feedback. The level of distraction coming from this cognitive demand of processing the message contributes to the rise in road accidents.
The need to save lives by avoiding dual-task activities should be emphasized through road safety campaigns. Policymakers assume that the driver has the responsibility to decide to make such choices on their own. Even when the law prohibits text messaging while driving, law enforcers cannot trace the lawbreakers easily, thus making it hard to enforce these laws.
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However, in addition to self-control and implementation of a law, which prohibits this driving malpractice, motor production firms should play a significant role by creating an inbuilt car device that tracks events taking place in the car or completely hinders text messages whilst driving. Although this recommendation has attracted a lot of criticism about privacy and the welfare of others inside the car, it is worth it since it saves the lives of pedestrians and other motorists.
New perspectives added to this topic
As one of the most affected groups, it is good to take responsibility and sensitize fellow peers on the dangers of this driving habit. In addition, it is upon us to discuss this issue extensively since it affects everyone. Drivers and passengers are the most affected, hence they will form the basis for this argument. Since human behavior is ought to deviate, then the need for regulation is indispensable. Mostly, human beings become perpetrators of these malpractices and they get away with the law.
They text while driving, but at the same time, they stay vigilant to evade the law enforcers. This aspect poses a great challenge to law enforcers. Currently, debates involving the motor production firms and communication sector in a bid to find lasting solutions have embarked. As technology advances, it is advisable to come up with ways of producing counter technologies in areas that seem to pose a danger to others. For instance, since banning text messaging while driving may not create a lasting solution, then the motor industry should come up with technology that inhibits texting in vehicles.
The primary and secondary audience
Young adults from the immediate audience of this work. As shown by previous research by Pascual-Ferra, Liu, and Beatty (2012) young adults agree to cause accidents related to text messaging while driving. In addition, they have shown no effort to abandon this driving habit. The secondary audience includes fellow students as well as my professor. This choice of an audience is influenced by the fact that the people living in the US have diverse and unique needs, which are highly affected by technology. Some arguments will hold that texting while driving saves people’s time since they can plan on other issues as they drive along with slow-moving traffic.
In an attempt to improve texting while driving in a bid to meet the needs of this group, cellphone manufacturers have developed the predictive text entry system. In addition, the incorporation of big LCD screen cellphones fixed at the level of the steering wheel stands out as an initiative of shared vision instead of switching concentration. As people continue to embrace technology and meet needs for different situations, education on the proper use of a cell phone is necessary to avoid endangering others.
Most people in the US do not agree with the development of cars with inbuilt devices meant to restrict text messaging while driving. In addition, such people do not recommend the ban on texting while driving. They opt to drive slow and maintain lanes in a bid to avoid accidents associated with texting while driving. Contrary, the study by Pascual-Ferra, Liu, and Beatty (2012) suggests that driving at slow and high speed while texting is equally dangerous.
In addition, people complain about the inefficiency of touchscreen cellphones, which are associated with frequent errors and frustrations. Most people claim that touchscreen registers undesired processes, thus complicating texting, which leads to advanced task problem. Consequently, drivers have diverse preferences on what kind of cellphones they like to use and some prefer holding the phone by themselves rather than being placed in a central position. These counterarguments suggest that the accidents linked to texting while driving will stay on the rise unless cars are fixed with devices impending texting from within.
Most people are open-minded about this issue particularly teenagers. Fortunately, teens acknowledge the social impact of losing loved ones to a texting-related accident. Therefore, understanding the impact of text messaging on driving efficiency, traffic safety, and proper use of cellphones is a key area of study. Although drivers seem to adopt a compensatory trend while texting, it does little to reduce road accidents.
Reducing speed and keeping distance from lead vehicles relatively compensates for switching attention from the road (LaVallee, 2009). However, repeated switching is likely to overwhelm these adaptive techniques and inhibit seeing important changes in the traffic flow. Basing on previous literature, the target audience acknowledges that most automobile accidents arise due to text messaging while driving. The audience supports measures focused on alleviating this driving habit.
A study by Pascual-Ferra, Liu, and Beatty (2012) suggest that there is a significant decline in driving performance for all drivers engaged in texting while driving. In addition, the study indicates that drivers lack knowledge of the risks associated with this malpractice. Driving performance in response to traffic lights and the pedestrian crossing was observed, thus implying that drivers are aware of traffic laws and they avoid detection from traffic officers.
An opposing study by LaVallee (2009) indicates that other dual-task activities such as alcohol use and drug intoxication indicate comparable implications for texting on driving performance. LaVallee (2009) argues that the evidence about text messaging and driving has been selected from a few studies, which are closed to this issue. Therefore, such appeals are seen to do little to overcome the problem of distracted driving. However, more research is needed to obtain evidence on the efficiency of restraining from texting while driving.
Research questions and responses
In a bid to identify the flow of this paper, this study develops five research questions that will be answered throughout the paper to broaden the general understanding of the topic. First, do drivers know the risks linked to texting while driving and if they do, why do they insist on holding to such behavior. Pascual-Ferra, Liu, and Beatty (2012) retaliate that the high percentage of every day road accidents come from dual-task activities particularly texting while driving. Apparently, drivers do not understand the dangers that they pose to themselves and others when they insist on this driving habit.
Pascual-Ferra, Liu, and Beatty (2012) claim that people fail to refrain from this danger because they overestimate their capability to multitask, viz. sending and receiving texts while driving. Third, how has the ban on texting while driving faired in states that have initiated the law? Law enforcers have been met with a new challenge of detecting the drivers that text while driving thus complicating the efforts to implement the law. However, it is upon the drivers to change their attitudes toward the use of their cellphones while driving (Pascual-Ferra, Liu & Beatty, 2012).
Fourth, does driving while texting surpasses other dual-task activities in terms of accident occurrences. Such activities may include talking to other passengers, driving while eating, or drinking alcohol. According to Pascual-Ferra, Liu, and Beatty (2012), texting while driving causes higher levels of a distraction than even driving while drinking alcohol. Lastly, what dangers are involved with the habit of texting while driving? The available studies show a plethora of demerits associated with text messaging while driving.
Even though many people have attempted to prove their ability to multitask in several situations, driving and texting mostly yield negative outcomes. In most other cases, drivers take their eyes off the road, but with shared concentration. However, in the case of texting, the driver has to switch attention to sending and receiving messages and this activity commands undivided attention. This aspect may lead to accidents by inconveniencing other motorists, head-on collisions, or hitting side-walking pedestrians.
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Despite the overwhelming evidence about the dangers of texting while driving, some people strongly believe that such claims are misleading in an effort to ban such behavior. Apparently, some individuals hold that they have the right to communicate anytime they want. Therefore, it becomes hard for such people to see the downside of such regulations. Those opposed to the ban on text messaging while driving claim that the act limits people’s freedom to choose what they can do with their cellphones.
People are attached to their phones to the extent that a ban cannot stop them from texting as they drive. In a bid to hide from the law enforcers, drivers will cope by placing their phones deeper in their laps and this move will result in a rise in road crashes (LaVallee, 2009).
Moreover, most of the available legislations are abstract on the implementation process. Most policymakers share the view that drivers are well informed about the decisions that they make while on the road. Therefore, they should be allowed to make these decisions on their own. The best way forward is to let motorists realize the dangers of texting while driving and encourage them to stop such behavior. Alternatively, albeit met with huge criticism, designing vehicles with an inbuilt non-text environment can address this issue altogether.
The future of text messaging while driving
The evolution of cellphones is detached from the consequences arising when these devices are used for texting while driving. Any effort to improve texting efficiency will not stop the behavior; on the contrary, it will encourage drivers to use their phones while driving. Text messaging has become a social norm since the development of smartphones in 2000 (LaVallee, 2009). This aspect enables people to communicate faster, easier, and from different parts of the world.
Frequent and lasting concentration on the phone will result in distraction, which compromises traffic safety and the rise of road fatalities across the globe. While campaigns against texting while driving has intensified, teenagers are yet to refrain from such behavior and the danger remains imminent on the roads. Moreover, the premature deaths of the drivers who cause road crashes due to texting distractions have a huge effect on society.
This project sensitizes not only the target audience but also the mainstream American society on the effects of texting while driving. It will be a boost to this study if the audience brings forth their critique about this topic. Changing attitudes, legislation, quality driving sessions, and modified automotive will be necessary to curb avoidable casualties and injuries related to texting while driving. Drivers have modified their text messaging behaviors unsuccessfully in a bid to cope with the demands of dual-task activities, and they have failed to alleviate impairments in driving efficiency. Based on the dangers of engaging in these destructive tasks especially those demanding to switch visual attention, thus risking accidents, this study recommends that measures should be initiated to improve driving performance.
LaVallee, A. (2009). Firms racing to end texting and driving. The Wall Street Journal. Web.
Pascual-Ferra, P., Liu, Y., & Beatty, M. (2012). A meta-analytic comparison of the effects of text messaging to substance-induced impairment on driving performance. Communication Research Reports, 29(3), 227–238.