Distracted driving is a menace that compromises safety on the road. The problem contributes to the escalating number of traffic accidents and injuries. Distracted driving endangers the drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. According to statistics, more than eight people die on a daily basis from distracted driving related accidents (Center for Disease Control and Prevention). It is projected the numbers might increase if nothing is done to curb the behavior. A corpus of research indicates that several factors including communication and texting via the cell phones, eating, and overloading distract many drivers.
According to Johal and colleagues, the attempts of the drivers to engage in talking and texting the cell phones cause them to lose attention while behind the wheel (113). In essence, the factors mentioned above affect the attention of the drivers. In this regard, the drivers take their eyes and hands off the road and wheel respectively. The distracters might overwhelm the drivers and eventually lead to fatal accidents that result in death and injuries. Unless interventions to control distracting habits such as phone calling and texting, eating, and overloading passengers while driving are in place, the globe will continue losing many people to controllable deaths.
Mobile phones are arguably the leading causes of distracted driving. The cell phones contribute immensely to road traffic injuries on a daily basis. Majorly, drivers utilize mobile phones to talk and text while driving. According to Seel, phone calls or texts divert the attention of the drivers from the steering wheel (222). The World Health Organization warns that talking or texting while driving might become a global crisis in the near future (26).
In essence, text messaging is a low-cost method of communication, and drivers tend to utilize the service quite often while driving. In this regard, the distraction caused by the mobile phones delays the drivers’ response to the traffic signals. Horberry and colleagues observe that the drivers who converse via cell phones tend to have impaired capacity to follow the correct lane and cannot attend to driving situation such as maintaining the right distance (187). Equally, Fleur believes communication through cell phones increases the chances of accidents by tenfold (1). The cell phones have increased the level of risky driving behavior and road traffic injuries.
The tendency to eat while driving affects the attention of the drivers on the road and contributes to road traffic deaths and injuries. According to Jeffrey and Motao, drivers tend to eat foods such as chips, tacos, chili dogs, fried chicken, chocolates, and hamburgers while driving (877-878). It is noteworthy that the habit of eating while on the steering wheel affects the driver’s capacity to react and control the vehicle. Young, Lee, and Regan argue that drivers experience an impaired control of the lanes, which may result in crashes and accidents (206). Such drivers tend to use a single hand to control the steering wheel while the other arm handles the food. The result of this tendency is poor driver’s concentration that eventually leads to accidents. Therefore, eating distracts drivers and endangers the lives of passengers and other road users.
Carrying passengers beyond the carriage capacity is also a factor that affects the attention of the drivers. Many people in the vehicle directly or indirectly cause the distractions to the drivers. People engage the drivers in the discussion, which culminates in diverting the attention and committed a road offense (Jeffrey and Motao 877). Although such debates might not involve drivers, they affect them indirectly.
Hence, the drivers participate in a passive way through listening to the discussion. The overall result entails a loss of concentration of the driving experience. Inattentive drivers pose an enormous danger to the passengers and other road users. Hence, the loss of attention increases the chances of causing road traffic accidents. Experts propose interventions to curb the menace of distracted driving. Pickering and others suggest the use of devices that render cell phones inoperable while in a moving vehicle.
The reasoning behind the employment of this device is that the service can block all outgoing and incoming calls, as well as text messages (Pickering et al 225). Other stakeholders emphasize the need for education to create awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. Peter and Lawrence argue that offline and online campaigns about the risks of engaging in phone communication or eating while driving have a large potential to change the behavior of the masses. According to Peter and Lawrence, the initiatives serve as crucial tools of pleading with the public to embrace safe practices, and refrain from all kinds of distraction for the safety of their lives (1419).
Moreover, legislation holds an enormous promise to change the behavior of the drivers regarding distracted driving. Laws can restore sanity on the road by fostering and shaping a culture that embraces safe driving (Sturnquist 10). States such as New Jersey have laws that restrict people from texting while walking (Perlman). Legislation, education, and technology can prevent drivers from the potentially distracting activities while driving.
In conclusion, distracted driving endangers the lives of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. Calling or texting via mobile phones, eating, and overloading passengers are the primary factors that distract drivers and contribute to the escalating number of road traffic injuries and deaths. Phones are necessary devices of communication. However, they are major sources of distraction and can lead to fatal accidents if drivers use them while driving. Similarly, habits such as eating and overloading passengers affect the drivers directly or indirectly.
The tendencies pose a danger to the lives of many people. Losing people to controllable deaths is unacceptable. Thus, it is important to enact laws to control behaviors that can result in distracted driving and cause deaths as suggested by experts. Passing legislation to restrict drivers from using mobile phones while driving can lead to a culture of safe driving. Similarly, adoption of technology that can divert diverting incoming calls to voice messaging service is a viable way to keep the level of distraction low. Moreover, education is an important tool for creating awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. In essence, concerted efforts can reduce the numbers of controllable deaths that emanate from distracted driving.