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Cons of Banning Cell Phones While Driving

Cons of Banning Cell Phones While Driving

  • 2016-01-28

Banning the use of cell phones when operating motor vehicles is a driving safety measure that has gained significant attention as more and more people talk and text behind the wheel. While cell phone use while driving can increase the chance of having an accident, there are several important drawbacks to cell phone bans.
Enforcement

One of the key problems with cell phone bans while driving is that the bans can be difficult to enforce. It is often difficult to see into a vehicle to determine whether someone is talking on the phone, and even if a highway patrolman stops an individual for breaking the ban, hundreds of others will likely go unpunished. This problem is similar to driving above the speed limit. Most people will do it at one time or another, and only the most conspicuous violators are likely to be penalized. When drivers realize that a ban is rarely, if ever, enforced, they will be emboldened to make more calls and may ignore a ban all together.

Alternatives

Cellular phone bans typically make it illegal to use hand-held communication devices while driving, but may not affect other communication devices, such as hands-free headsets or cell phones using a speakerphone function. A large part of the distraction caused by cell phones is the conversation itself and not the actual handling of the phone, meaning some of these potentially legal alternatives could still pose a safety risk. Hands-free phones and headsets often require buttons to be pressed to start and end conversations and to adjust volume levels. Headsets or headphones may also reduce the ability to hear what is going outside the vehicle; for instance, someone wearing a headset may not be able to hear an ambulance or police car approaching from behind.

Practical Uses

Cell phones can enhance safety in some cases. For instance, drivers can report accidents or other notable events to the authorities quickly by using a cell phone in areas where stopping to make a call may not be safe. Cell phones are useful to have in emergency situations, such as becoming stranded in cold weather. They can also be useful to get directions from others while driving or to receive important information from others; for instance, a friend might be ahead of you in traffic and warn you via cell phone that there is an accident or slippery patch to avoid.

Effectiveness

The purpose of a cell phone ban is to increase driver safety and save lives. According to a study released by the Highway Loss Data Institute, three states with cell phone bans did not show significant improvement in accident rates as a result of the laws. Since enacting new laws and attempting to enforce them requires time and resources, an ineffective ban ultimately may be a waste of money.(from ehow.com)

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