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When a cell phone goes off in a classroom or at a concert, we are irritated, but at least our lives are not endangered. When weare on the road, however, irresponsible cell phone users are more than irritating: They are putting our lives at risk. Many of us have witnessed drivers so distracted by dialing and chatting that they resemble drunk drivers, weaving between lanes, for example, ornearly running down pedestrians in crosswalks. A number of bills to regulate use of cell phones on the road have been introduced in state legislatures, and the time has come to push for their passage.Regulation is needed because drivers using phones are seriouslyimpaired and because laws on negligent and reckless driving are not sufficient to punish offenders. No one can deny that cell phones have caused traffic deaths and injuries. Cell phones were implicated in three fatal accidents in November 1999 alone. Early in November, two-year-old MorganPena was killed by a driver distracted by his cell phone. Morgan’s mother, Patti Pena, reports that the driver ran a stop sign at 45mph, broadsided my vehicle and killed Morgan as she sat in her carseat. A week later, corrections officer Shannon Smith, who was guarding prisoners by the side of the road, was killed by a woman distracted by a phone call (Besthoff).
On Thanksgiving, weekendTitle is centered. Opening sentences catch readers’ attention.Thesis assertsAngela Daly smain point.Daly uses a clear topic sentence. Signal phrase names the author of the quotation to follow. No page number is available for this Web source. The author’s name is given in parentheses; no page is available.MLA Research Paper (Daly)Page 2Source: Diana Hacker (Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2004).Daly 2that same month, John and Carole Hall were killed when a NavalAcademy midshipman crashed into their parked car. The driver saidin court that when he looked up from the cell phone he was dial-ing, he was three feet from the car and had no time to stop(Stockwell B8).Expert testimony, public opinion, and even cartoons suggest that driving while phoning is dangerous. Frances Bents, an expert on the relation between cell phones and accidents, estimates that between 450 and 1,000 crashes a year have some connection to cell phone use (Layton C9). In a survey published by Farmers Insurance Group, 87% of those polled said that cell phones affect adriverâ€™s ability, and 40% reported having close calls with drivers distracted by phones. Many cartoons have depicted the very real dangers of driving while distracted (see Fig. 1). Page numbers gave when available. Clear topic sen-tences like this oneare used through-out the paper.Illustration figure number, label, and source information.Fig. 1. Chan Lowe, cartoon, Washington Post 22 July 2000: A21.Page 3Source: Diana Hacker (Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2004).
Daly 3Scientific research confirms the dangers of using phone while on the road. In 1997 an important study appeared in theNew England Journal of Medicine. The authors, Donald Redelmeierand Robert Tibshirani, studied 699 volunteers who made their cellphone bills available in order to confirm the times when they had placed calls. The participants agreed to report any nonfatal collision in which they were involved. By comparing the time of a collision with the phone records, the researchers assessed the dangers of driving while phoning. Here are their results: We found that using a cellular telephone was associ-ated with a risk of having a motor vehicle collisionthat was about four times as high as that among these drivers when they were not using their cellular telephones. This relative risk is similar to the hazardassociated with driving with a blood alcohol level at the legal limit. (456)In reports by news media, the latter claim was exaggerated, but the comparison with drunk driving is startling nonetheless.
A 1998 study focused on Oklahoma, one of the few states to keep records on fatal accidents involving cell phones. Using policerecords, John M. Violanti of the Rochester Institute of Technology investigated the relation between traffic fatalities in Oklahoma and the use or presence of a cell phone. He found a ninefold increase in the risk of fatality if a phone was being used and a doubled risk simply when a phone was present in a vehicle (522-23). The summary begins with a signal phrase naming theauthor and ends with page numbersin parentheses. Summary and long quotations are introducedwith a signalphrase namingthe authors. Daly 4carry phones in their cars may tend to be more negligent (or prone to distractions of all kinds) than those who do not. Some groups have argued that state traffic laws make legislation regulating cell phone use unnecessary. Sadly, this is not true. Laws on traffic safety vary from state to state, and drivers dis-tracted by cell phones can get off with light punishment evenwhen they cause fatal accidents. For example, although the mid-shipman mentioned earlier was charged with vehicular manslaughter for the deaths of John and Carole Hall, the judge was unable toissue a verdict of guilty. Under Maryland law, he could only find the defendant guilty of negligent driving and impose a $500 fine(Layton C1). Such a light sentence is not unusual.
The driver who killed Morgan Pena in Pennsylvania received two tickets and a $50fine–and retained his driving privileges (Pena). In Georgia, ayoung woman distracted by her phone ran down and killed a two-year-old; her sentence was ninety days in boot camp and five hun-dred hours of community service (Ippolito J1). The families of the victims are understandably distressed by-laws that lead to such light sentences. When certain kinds of driver behavior are shown to beespecially dangerous, we wisely draft special laws making themillegal and imposing specific punishments. Running red lights, failing to stop for a school bus, and drunk driving are obvious exam-ples; phoning in a moving vehicle should be no exception. Unlikemore general laws covering negligent driving, specific laws leave little ambiguity for law officers and for judges and juries imposingpunishments. Such laws have another important benefit: TheyDaly uses an analogy to justify passing a speciallaw. Facts are docu-mented with in-text citations:authors namesand page numbers(if available) in parentheses. Daly countersank opposingargument.Page 5Source: Diana Hacker (Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2004). Daly leave no ambiguity for drivers. Currently, drivers can tease themselves into thinking they are using their car phones responsibly because the definition of â€œnegligent driving is vague. As of December 2000, twenty countries were restricting useof cell phones in moving vehicles (Sundeen 8).
In the United States, it is highly unlikely that legislation could be passed on thenational level since traffic safety is considered a state and localissue. To date, only a few counties and towns have passed traffic laws restricting cell phone use. For example, in Suffolk County, New York, it is illegal for drivers to use a handheld phone for anything but an emergency call while on the road (Haughney A8). The first town to restrict use of handheld phones was Brooklyn, Ohio (Lay-ton C9). Brooklyn, the first community in the country to pass aseat belt law, has once again shown its concern for traffic safety. Laws passed by counties and towns have had some effect, but it makes more sense to legislate at the state level. Local laws are not likely to have an impact of state laws, and keeping track of a wide variety of local ordinances is confusing for drivers. Even aspokesperson for Verizon Wireless has said that statewide bans arepreferable to a crazy patchwork quilt of ordinances (qtd. in Haugh-ney A8).
Unfortunately, although a number of bills have been introduced in state legislatures, as of early 2001 no state law seriously restricting the use of the phones had passed–largely because of effective lobbying from the wireless industry.Despite the claims of some lobbyists, tough laws regulatingphone use can make our roads safer. In Japan, for example, accidents linked to cell phones fell by 75% just a month after the transition helps readers move fromone paragraph tothe next. Daly cites an indi-rect source: words quoted in anothersource. Daly explainswhy U.S. laws need to bepassed on the state level. Daly counters aclaim made by some opponents. Daly country prohibited using a handheld phone while driving (Haugh-ney A8).
Research suggests and common sense tells us that it is not possible to drive an automobile at high speeds, dial numbers, and carry on conversations without significant risks. When such behavior is regulated, obviously our roads will be safer. Because of mounting public awareness of the dangers of drivers distracted by phones, state legislators must begin to take the problem seriously. It’s definitely an issue that is gaining steam around the country, says Matt Sundeen of the National Conference of State Legislatures (qtd. in Layton C9). Lon Anderson of the American Automobile Association agrees: there is momentum building, he says, to pass laws (qtd. in Layton C9). The time has come for states to adopt legislation restricting the use of cell phones in moving vehicles. For variety Dalyplaces a signal phrase after a brief quotation. The paper ends with a stand on the issue.
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