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Text and talk; the new equivalent of drunk driving

Brittney Moore

Issue date: 2/16/10 Section: Student Life
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This generation is the age of technology. It's as if cell phones and computers are attached to the hands of students and children, even forcing the "old school" into adopting cell phones and learning the use of Internet.

Everyone wants to be connected. Social network sites, e-mails from important clients, text messages from significant others, keeping in touch with friends out of state in different time zones- there are countless reasons that people feel the need to stay on top of technology but rarely are the reasons to remain responsible when using such devices are brought up.

While binge drinking was a vice that college students were known for, it may have been replaced by a new epidemic: texting while driving.

Talking on the phone and driving is equivalent to drunk driving. It causes the driver to be distracted and because our brains don't multitask the way we think they do, driving becomes the second priority. The drivers main focus becomes the conversation, whether it's through voice on a Bluetooth or text messaging, drivers tend to miss important factors in driving that include various traffic signals, cars switching lanes, or control of their vehicle.

A December 2007 simulator study by Clemson University found that "text messaging and using iPods caused drivers to leave their lanes 10 percent more often."

According to a study conducted by the National Safety Council, 28 percent of traffic accidents occur when people talk on their cell phones or send text messages.

As the popularity of cell phones and text messaging has increased and become affordable for the younger population to own, officials across the nation have noticed the dramatic increase in accidents due to the misuse of this technology. The National Safety Council has found that 1.4 million crashes are caused by phone conversations annually.

With more studies linking cellular distractions as the culprit to many accidents, especially in the 16 - 24 age bracket, more states are adopting the no texting and cell phone use while driving law. Thus far, 29 states have laws that restrict cell phone uses.

Though Michigan has not banned cell phone use for all drivers, teens with probationary licenses whose cell phone usage contributes to a traffic crash or ticket may not use a cell phone while driving.

Oprah Winfrey dedicated a show to the speak of the dangers of cell phone use during driving and promote her new campaign, "Make your car a no phone zone," On the Oprah website, you can take quizzes on your knowledge of statistics as well as sign the pledge that you will not use any communication device during your daily commutes.

You may think that you have mastered your Blackberry's keyboard or can type a mile a minute on the iPhone but a 1,000 pound vehicle filled with steel requires more than one hand navigation and your full attention.

Your conversation can wait until you get to your destination, remember, if it's one of those important phone calls that you must take, do the road a favor and pull over.
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posted 6/07/10 @ 5:41 AM EST

In our time it's hard to imagine our lives without cell-phones and other technological inventions just because they make our life more convenient. But we shouldn't forget about security of other people. (Continued…)


posted 11/30/10 @ 6:30 PM EST

At least the smart phones these days come with the option to recognize speech. Its hard to stop people from texting while driving - not that talking on the phone is safe but still better than typing on a keyboard while driving. (Continued…)

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