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Cell Phones Changed Daily Driving Routine

A teenage girl texting her friend about Friday night plans hits a telephone pole, or a businessman skids past a red light as he scrambles to pick up an important call from his boss – stories such as these are hardly out of the ordinary in this day and age. The advent of cell phones has created a wave of changes that has rippled through all areas of our daily lives, leaving no aspects untouched and no stones unturned – and the road is hardly any different. Though overall the addition of cell phones has been positive, their effect on the roadway has been incredibly detrimental. The instinct to react to the constant beeping of an incoming call or a flashing light indicating a new message is hard to ignore, and even just a split second diversion that lessens focus on the wheel can have dangerous consequences.

As our ties to technology grow with every passing year, cellphone-related distracted driving incidents have become disturbingly commonplace – and what is truly unfortunate is that these accidents are entirely preventable. Luckily, the state of Utah has become determined to take a stand.

The current measure under debate, SB162, is a follow-up to last year’s bill that banned the use of many cell phone functions while driving – except this measure limit drivers to using only completely hands-free technology during the operation of a motor vehicle.

The Shortcomings of Hands Free Software

Utah’s proposal is not without its downfalls. Though this option is now featured on every run-of-the-mill smartphone, the technology is far from perfect, and users lament the fact that they end up resorting to manual operation due to the many, often time-consuming, errors that occur from attempting to use voice-activated software.

Additionally, this movement could have an important impact on the future of cell phones themselves: if it proves to be effective and becomes a more widespread phenomenon, technology companies will focus more resources on perfecting the hands-free system in response to consumer demand.

Will California Do Something Similar?

While there’s no similar legislation planned for California, this law brings up a very salient point – distracted driving from cell phone use poses a serious threat to the safety of anybody on the road. Recent studies show that accidents due to distracted driving are more prevalent with younger drivers (29 and under). As more teenagers become drivers, the number of cell phone-savvy drivers will continue to grow. In very densely populated areas, such as southern California, statistics forecast an increase in distracted driving accidents. And if this happens, should California attempt their own version of Utah’s “hands-free” law?

Safety Matters

Any steps that can be taken to prevent the occurrence of these motor vehicle accidents are incredibly significant and must be treated as such. It’s important to encourage your loved ones and your community to take the proper measures to keep themselves and others as far from harm as possible. Whether it’s pulling onto the shoulder to take that important call, parking in the nearest strip mall to properly set your phone’s GPS, or shutting your phone off to avoid text messages while driving, it’s worth it to save you or someone else’s life.

Based on –

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