Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cell Phones...Friends or Foes?

Cell phones have become an unsuspecting weapons almost more than they have become useful tools.According to a group called Lawcore, on an average, there are more that 6 million car accidents on the roads of the U.S., annually. The rate of accidents caused by texting and driving are rapidly shooting toward the sky, and teenagers are not they only ones at fault. People of all ages have been swept up in the hazardous phenomenon of texting and driving.

Here are a few stories about texting related accidents which involve a range of ages which have been recorded by the website momlogic:

Bailey Goodman, 17, was killed along with four of her fellow cheerleaders when she swerved into oncoming traffic, hit a tractor-trailer and her SUV burst into flames. Five days later, the five teenagers would have graduated from high school. Two minutes before the crash it was reported, her phone was used to send a text greeting to a friend.

Ashley D. Miller, 18, veered into oncoming traffic and hit another car head on while she was texting. She and the other driver, a 40-year-old mother of one, were killed instantly.

17-year-old Vana Francis and 15-year-old Ronnie Scoggins drowned when a car carrying seven teenagers drove off the road and into a river. The 20-year-old driver admitted she was texting on her cell phone when the car plunged into the water, and was later arrested.

18-year-old Makayla Lynn Belew was killed when a text-messaging driver hit her as she walked along the side of the road and then the driver drove away from the scene. A year later, Larry Chad Smithey, 28, was arrested for the crime.

Something needs to be done about this terrible situation the world has fallen in. Some may argue that most states have made laws that ban texting for all drivers, or for drivers under the age of 18, but does this law really keep anyone from texting and driving? How could it? It is like the law that does not allow people under the age of 18 to buy cigarettes, kids under that age still find a way to by pass this law.

Many teens, and adults alike, have developed the ability to text with out looking. They may argue that this puts them at a better chance at not having a wreck, but they are sadly mistaken. Most people do not realize how little they are able to focus on the world around them when they are texting.

As recorded by a writer at, MRI brain scans taken while the patient partook in a driving simulation, shows that when a driver concentrates on driving the spatial awareness region of the brain sparks to life(click here to learn more about the spatial awareness regions of the brain). The same patient was then taken and put in a driving situation, and engaged in a cell phone conversation. The difference between the two simulations was that in the cell phone engaged simulation the part of the brain that controls, speech, language, and language understanding becomes alert and the spatial region of the brain is reduced in function by 37%. One may think, "Oh that's not too big of a difference. Driving is still possible." True as it may be that driving is possible, it is not true that driving in such a spatial reduction is safe. Texting while driving increases a persons chances of a crash by 23%, according to the author of this article, at

We as a country need to slam a fist down and put a halt to this growing epidemic.According to an article in the Maryland Gazette, we have the technology to stop unnecessary cell phone use while driving. This wonderful technology is called cellcontrol and it was crated by a man that was almost hit by a person who was texting and driving. This amazing device regulates what calls can get through a phone, and what calls can be made. Text messages are also monitored and all operations that need to be ended, or changed can simply be done online at home. As of October 28, 2009 there are 20 people using cellcontrol, and a total of 75 devices in use. If these numbers do not increase then the roads will continue to be more and more dangerous as more and more people text and drive.

This blog post was was inspired by this article by Megham Daum with the Los Angeles Times.

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