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The creation of the smartphone has undoubtedly brought such benefits to our lives, which at times we tend to forget. We have access to an unlimited amount of information at our fingertips. We have the ability to contact our beloved friends and family members with the simple press of a button. We have our dearest memories forever stored in a media format, close by and easy to reach. Our smartphones are our calculator, camera, web browser, mp3, and much more. We have, to an extent, made our smartphone an all in one device to which we depend on more than we would really like to think about. Our wonderful creation has us now addicted, from a young age as well, which we’ll get to later. This is inherently a major problem, but what people tend to undermine is the danger this brings to those who use the road. You would think that the first thing people do when going behind the wheel is turn off their mobile device or perhaps tucking it away, somewhere unreachable. However, this isn’t the case.
In 2015 it was found that 3.8% of drivers had their cellphones visibly present in their hand, and don’t underestimate that statistic. There were a little over 218 million licensed drivers that year, resulting in about 8,284,000 drivers that year who were distracted by their cell phones. But it doesn’t stop there. Driving with a cell phone is known as a form of distracted driving. Distracted driving is any activity that takes the drivers eyes off the road, hands off the wheel or their mind off driving. As expected this is a quite a predicament that affects all of us who use the road, but who is most at risk? The youth. Teen drivers 15 to 19 years old are the age group most at risk for distracted driving accidents. Those new to driving are inexperienced and can hardly manage the task at hand much less somehow juggle driving and using a cell phone. Statistics even show that those aged 16-24 are more likely to have their cellphone in their hand compared to those aged 25-69 and 70+. This distractedness has sadly, caused quite a number of accidents, being a factor in nearly 6 out of 10 moderate-to-severe teen crashes. Knowing this, how are we helping? What are we doing to combat this danger?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been doing their part by making campaigns and public service announcements to put out information on the dangers of distracted driving. As well as working alongside The States and local police to change laws to effectively combat distracted driving. However, I suggest a new way to help. For new drivers and those who have caused accidents because of distracted driving, we can propose an element similar to a breathalyzer, but for phones. You cannot drive unless your phone is put specifically in a space where you cannot touch it while driving. We cannot control every driver out there, but we can set examples and raise awareness for the issue of distracted driving, and lower the statistics.
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