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Texting and vehicle accidents

From the arrival of the mobile phone cellular devices have consequently become a necessity in almost all the spheres of life. With the elementary school going children, senior citizens as well as all the people about owning mobile phones and the recent cultural shift that has taken place making people overly dependent on mobile phones. The consequent emergence of new technologies encompassing the smaller as well, the more mobile gadgets and phones that are capable of accessing the email has led to an explosion in the use of cell phones.
The omnipresence nature of the smartphones, as well as the issue of text messaging, offers an assortment of the ways in which a driver is distracted as along with the inattentiveness with numerous studies carrying out numerous efforts to address the issue. The fact that the human being is social creatures and implies that they normally survive on the interactions they have with those around then (Abouk & Adams, 2013). This yearning be connected to other people tends to be disruptive and some situations that do not accommodate the distractions. There is numerous occasion that the mobile users abuse the needed to be connected to others and push what can be the socially acceptable behavior and resultantly cause destruction as well disrespect to those around their physical setting.
The relationships that are developed as well as maintained through the mobile and smartphone tend to be the priority although the attributes that are ignored and sacrificed as we try to maintain these relationships lead to very costly situations. The issue of driving, just the mobile telephony permits the human being to maintain the connection with other people, objects, places as well as events. Automobiles allow people to travel for long distances and also allowing them the freedom to get way from the monotony that is brought to life. The underlying issue, however, is the fact that the manufacturers of the automobiles never planned that there will be a mobile phone screen with the driver (Hosking, Young & Regan, 2006). While a peaceful drive makes it possible for a driver to take in the beautiful surroundings while also being in control of the car, a mobile phone overcomes the rationale of driving. The mobile phone, it sucks the driver’s mind into the phone, vanishing for moments at a time, and then sporadically returning to the road. The variations inattentiveness have the extremely high potentials of removing the driver from the car. Apparently, the penalty for this behavior can lead to devastating outcomes, for both the driver as well as anyone in his or her path.
The assertion that drivers are likely to get into accidents while texting on their phones strikes most people as an obvious fact in that it is one of the those issues one should see coming. The unremitting influx of information, irrespective of how significant or inconsequential, has the ability to overwhelm the brain to the summit that information is not effectively processed. Even one negligible distraction can be enough to interfere with the driver while on the road (University of Utah, 2013). Studies carried out by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute presents the suggestion that text messaging specifically was connected with the highest threat of all cell phone-related accidents. Specifically, the research by VTTI’s demonstrated that a driver texting while driving resulted in a crash and other cases near crash experience 23 times more likely than the situation when one is driving without a phone (Blanke, 2010). Additionally, the research established that text messaging tend to make drivers take their eyes off the road for an average duration of 4.6 seconds over a 6-second gap, which was identified to be the longest interval of time for any cell phone-related accident.

The study is an attempt to assess the relationship that exists between the subject of texting and whether it has a direct relationship with the accidents that are caused by the driving on the wheel.
The research question is thus going to be:
• Does texting while driving contribute to the involvement of a driver in road accidents?
• The research hypothesis is going to be that texting while driving contributes to road accidents.
• The null hypothesis, on the other hand, is going to be text while driving does not cause road accidents.
Present mobile phones have become the attraction through which people are managing their communication networks. Additionally, users are able to access diverse functionalities like e-mail, audio solutions, photography, games, along with other applications that have endless. The continued popularity of mobile phones along with the recent, smartphones, contribute to the promotion of, people’s dependence on the devices as a mode of constant communication moreover connection continues to augment, as well. In the recent time, the users have been able to place furthermore take calls and send or receive text messages (Affleck, 2002). The innovatory technology has stunned the roots of our being, and in recent times, has transitioned from shifted from a luxury gadget to an absolute necessity. It is not practicable to choose out of possessing a mobile phone. The Cell phones have encroached on a huge section of the world’s population with the purpose of linking more people, ensuring that their lives are considerably easier, consequently permitting for additional tasks to be accomplished, irrespective of whether they are for personal or professional grounds. An investigation by the Pew Research Center concluded that roughly 90% of all American adults own a cell phone while over 58% possess a smartphone (Bellin, 2013).

Figure 1: Mobile ownership in America between the year 2004 and 2013.
The use of the automobile along with its numerous positive impacts has additionally introduced a supplementary and somewhat ill-fated route to death. The freedom that comes with driving comes at reasonably a heavy cost. The additional attribute is that it does not only come down to the negligent drivers only as the individuals who pay the cost for their negligence. Innocent passengers, motorists, bystanders as well as pedestrians, are all becoming vulnerable furthermore constitute part of the critical equation (AAMI, 2010). The 2012 Fatality Assessment Reporting System that was released by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicated that there was an increase in highway deaths to 33,561 in the year 2012. It was an increase of 1,082 fatalities from the number recorded in the year 2011. The U.S. Transportation Secretary commented on these statistics arguing that the Highway deaths are claiming more than 30,000 lives every year, and although substantial progress has been realized over the past 50 years, it is imperative that there are more interventions to be put in place (Blueprint For Ending Distracted Driving, 2012).
Any individual who tries to use a mobile phone while driving is at amplified risk of being involved in a serious crash. It is additionally evident that the young drivers are predominantly at risk since the population has superior incidences of driving while using a mobile phone. The 2010 survey by AAMI specified that 61% of drivers who are aged between 18 and 24 years confessed that they had either sent or received a text while they were driving in comparison to 32% of drivers who are aged over 25 years (Nemme & White, 2010). Additionally, evidence reveals that undertaking other tasks while driving, for instance using a mobile phone, leads to greater tribulations for the inexperienced drivers who possess a higher crash risk. Research further indicate that older drivers find it complicated to perform two tasks concurrently and with the main issue being that there is the impairment to their response times.
It is thus evident that, texting while driving appears to be convincingly common and extensively dangerous. The additional issue of lack of the uniform ban in the US is disturbing. Current statistics’ indicate that it is only thirty states; counting Tennessee, that have developed legislations prohibiting texting while driving. Most of the studies, inclusive of the above mentioned one by the VTTI, have clearly confirmed that the use of cell phone compromises was driving performance via escalating the driver’s insensitivity, thus extensively escalating the risk of motor vehicle crashes (VicRoads, 2011).
The statistics that attempt to illustrate the dangers related to the issue of cell phone use while driving are absolutely astonishing. Statistics indicate that at any given time during the day, around 660,000 drivers try using their phones while behind the wheel of an automobile. Explicitly within the US, whereby virtually all those who drive a vehicle additionally own and consequently operate a mobile phone, there are an unparalleled number of automobile accidents that occur on an annual basis involving the cellular devices. Through the use of the study by California Department of Motor Vehicles, it follows that driving performance is significantly compromised and that the intensity of disruption increases when the drivers are heavily engaged in the cell phone. Additionally, the use of hands-free devices fails to lower the distraction levels of the driver (Klauer, Dingus, Neale, Sudweeks, & Ramsey, 2006). In this case, the percentage of vehicle crashes along with near-crashes as a result of texting is just as matching to the percentage that is credited to talking.
The list enumerated below offers presents some of the most conspicuous figures that were indicating how widespread furthermore deadly texting while driving is:
• In the year 2011, least 23% of automobile collisions were directly linked to the use of cell phones, which approximately translates to 1.3 million crashes
• The least amount of time that a driver's attention is taken away from the road while one is texting while driving is just 5 seconds
• That the attribute of texting led to a crash being 23 times more likely to occur
• The dialing attribute, on the other hand, increases the risk of crash by more than 2.8X
• Listening or talking additionally increases the likelihood of a crash by 1.3X
• Trying to reaching for the mobile device raises the likelihood of a crash by 1.4X
• In the case of the teenage population available data indicate that they have the greatest temptations in that:
• The driving population that is between 18 and 20 years have a 13% greater likelihood of being involved in car wrecks, that admitted to talking or texting on their mobile devices at the time the crash occurred
• Additionally, the statistics reveal that over 82% of Americans age population that is aged between 16 and 17 confirm that they own cell phones
• 34% of this population affirm that they have texted while driving
• 52%, on the other hand, say that they have talked on a cell phone while driving
The study adopts correlation in assessing whether a relationship exists between texting while driving and causation of motor vehicle accidents. In the use of correlation, the rationale will additionally encompass the assessment of the strength of the relationship that is prevalent between texting and the motor vehicle accidents.
The null hypothesis in our study encompasses the assertion the assertion that texting does not have a relationship with the occurrence of accidents and that any relationship that exists is purely by change.
The research hypothesis for our study, on the other hand, is that the texting does have an impact on the occurrence of the accidents in that it promotes the occurrence and that the influence is of the nonrandom cause. In using correlation to answer whether we reject or fail to reject the null hypothesis encompasses the assessment of the correlation coefficient. If the correlation coefficient is not zero, we shall reject the null hypothesis and consequently accept the research hypothesis.
The independent variable in the study is texting while independent variable is vehicle accidents. In this assessment, a correlation coefficient or +1 or -1 indicates that our variables have a relationship positively or negatively respectively while a correlation coefficient of 0 will indicate that the variables do not have a relationship.
One of the most fundamental issues addressed in this study is the fact that mobile phones play a huge role in the life of a human being. In order to address the expansive nature o the issue of people texting while driving, it is imperative that all the stakeholders join hands in developing solutions to be implemented and promptly. The issue comes down to mobile phone users, drivers, automobile manufacturers, government, mobile phone engineers, as well as everyone else addressing the matter as a serious issue and actively working to eradicate texting from the driving scene. It is not possible to realize social change unless a counter-cultural progress inherits sufficient following to commence progress (Klauer, Dingus, Neale, Sudweeks, & Ramsey, 2006).
What we need to realize is the fact that our mentality has to change now. Texting while driving may not be avoided at all costs but it is imperative that we make a choice on stopping to engage in the vice whenever we are on the road. It is necessary that we realize a healthy balance or else our plastic brains will keep on being distracted and consequently causing more serious accidents. On a general note, people need to take responsibility and make intensive efforts towards ensuring that we abstain from texting while driving (Baumann, Rosler, & Krems, 2007). Additionally, it is imperative that Law enforcement needs to continue patrolling our roads as well as highway platforms to aid in deterring furthermore prevent drivers from partaking of the vice. The Mobile phone designers along with the Car manufacturers are game changers, as they hold the tools appropriate to the organization of a large-scale technological revolution that will ensure the fatalities as a result of the vice reduce.
It is normally wise to carry a mobile phone in the event one is involved in an emergency. The best recommendation regarding engaging in texting while driving is in delay making and sending text messages until one has stopped driving. If it is imperative that one has to text other while driving, it is imperative that you pull over safely and consequently park your car, and then send and reply all your texts. One should also make use of the voicemail service and return all calls when one reaches their destination. It is additionally necessary that one plans breaks in your trip to contact friends and family and additionally advise them not to call or text when you know you will be driving. It is imperative that one never reads or sends text messages while still driving (White, Walsh, Hyde, & Watson, 2010). Although it is legal to make as well as receive mobile phone calls via the use of the hands-free kit, it is appropriate to remember that it places the driver along with passengers at risk. The use of a hands-free kit compromises the level of physical as well as visual interruption to the driver, with the attribute of cognitive distraction remaining very high, with the consequent likelihood of causing accidents.

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 Dr. Michelle Robert

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