Should texting while driving be banned?

Nicole Cozma
 from  Chicago
| December 28, 2010

I don't think we need statistical data or a video from AT&T to prove that texting while driving is dangerous—but the reminder doesn't hurt. To do any activity while driving that takes your eyes off the road and other objects around your moving vehicle is guaranteed to increase your risk of an accident. So since many of us, including myself, are guilty of texting while driving, should it be banned everywhere?

People text at red lights, but sometimes get distracted and don't start accelerating when the light turns green. This upsets other drivers behind them and usually the distracted person will hear a honk or two from behind their vehicle. Road rage is no joke either, and this could be the event that triggers it in the drivers around you. Other times the driver will be texting while their vehicle is moving, and occasionally veer off into other lanes. This creates a danger not only for the driver, but those around them. They may accidentally swipe the side of another vehicle and cause a chain reaction into other vehicles. Next thing you know, there's a highway pile up all because someone wanted to tell their significant other they were running late for dinner because of traffic.

As an attempted solution to this problem, apps like try to block use of your phone's keyboard/keypad while your vehicle is moving. But this doesn't prevent using it while you're stopped at red lights, and it only works for smartphones. Additionally, it's still the kind of app you have to choose to use, and that's really the battle you have to conquer. I'm already skeptical of things that block me from using my phone, in case of an emergency. This particular company says you can still use emergency services with their app running, but I'm still concerned about something not working correctly and blocking that too. So for me in particular, and I'm sure many others, the choice not to text comes down to willpower. 

As the law enforcement officer in the AT&T video mentioned, you have to consider what is worth losing your life over. One of the teens who killed a cyclist in their documentary mentioned that he wasn't looking at the road for nearly six seconds, and that's how his tragedy happened. Which to me begs the question: how long do we spend looking at billboards and other advertisements on the road? As a passenger, I have time to look at these things, but as a driver, some are definitely more distracting than others. If texting does indeed get banned while operating a motor vehicle, it's going to be difficult enough for law enforcement to pick those out of the traffic. I think trying to ban people from looking at advertisements on the road would be nearly impossible, yet it seems nearly as dangerous as texting—your eyes are looking everywhere they shouldn't be. 

Bluetooth devices are now more affordable than ever, and should be standard when using a mobile phone in the car, or at the very least, speakerphone. Some states have already taken the initiative of banning all mobile phones from being in your hand in the car, but many others still need to hop on this bandwagon. What do you think? Is texting as dangerous as the AT&T video suggests? What are some ways that a law like this could be enforced more effectively?


Read about the AT&T video here.