USE OF HAND-HELD TECHNOLOGY WHILE DRIVING
It has long been acknowledged that speeding and drink driving cause accidents, and often even cause death on our roads. Now we have a new problem affecting the ability of drivers to safely manage their operation of a vehicle. It is the thoughtless and careless use of hand-held technology devices. It can cause harm to the drivers’ surroundings, there is a clear difference between the use of hand-held devices and hands-free ones and the younger generation is the main cause of this result. Some people will argue that both methods of using phones are as bad as each other. This is not the case. The former is much more dangerous than the other is, and the key problem with these handheld devices is when they are being used to send text messages. Talking on a mobile phone is bad enough but texting distracts a driver from operating the vehicle safely.
To begin with, the use of and held devices, like mobile phones, negatively affects drivers’ abilities to drive safely. Talking on a phone is not in itself distracting. Many people carry on conversations with passengers, and they still manage to drive safely. However, when the devices are handheld, there is only one hand free to drive and operate the car. If for example there is the need to rapidly change direction to prevent a collision, both hands may be immediately required to successfully carry out the car, but one hand is holding the phone. If the driver is texting, his or her brain is focused on typing the message texting or answer their phones while waiting at traffic lights and often do not realise when the lights change. The Victorian government has clearly stated that is any drivers are found using a mobile phone they will be charged with a fine of 476 Australian dollars and can lose four demerit points. Talking on a phone is bad enough but texting distracts a driver from operating the vehicle safely.
Furthermore, there is a difference between using a hand- free phone and a handheld, as far as the hands-free are concerned, as long as they are only used for speaking, it should not be a major concern. The driver can still focus on the road and his or her driving because only hearing is being used, not sight. However, even in this situation, a driver has to be mindful of making a call or answering the phone and should only do this when the car is stationary. Another potential problem is that hearing can also be useful in avoiding accidents because often there are screeching and other noises associated with the vehicle behaving unpredictably. Researchers have estimated that 50 minutes’ of chatter a month leads to a five-fold increase in the likelihood of a crash. Consequently, hands-free phones should have their volume at a low level. If a driver can use a hand free phone responsibly, it should be acceptable.
Lastly, a contrary argument to the ones already stated is that Australia is a democracy and we should be able to use our technological devices whenever and however we wish. This argument is incorrect as it is expressing they are experts in the field if talking on their phones and texting at the exact same time. They argue that some drivers eat food and drink while driving. Women particularly have been seen applying makeup while driving. These distractions are not banned and incur large fines, so why should be using a technological device be any different? With excluding to apply makeup, which, however, is usually done when the vehicle is stationary, for example, at a stop sign or traffic lights, there, is a clear difference when it comes to text messaging. In this situation, merely is the driver not looking at the road and the surrounding traffic and pedestrians.
In conclusion, more people die on our roads each year than in any other area of human activity. More than in calamities, such as plane crashes, shark attacks, murders, drownings, electrocutions, sporting activities. Our governments are constantly trying to decrease the road toll. Fines and the ever-growing loss of the points for speeding and drink driving are helping, but more needs to be done! It is sensible that the penalties have been increased for using technological devices while driving than the previous years. However, in the case of handheld phones, the penalties should be severe. The use of hands- free phones, if used responsibly, seems to be acceptable. If we diminish the slaughter occurring on our roads, mainly caused by irresponsible drivers, every aspect involved in driving a vehicle safely needs to be assessed.