How Electronic Gadgets Contribute to Accidents in US

In the past, most motorists had to worry about fuel gauge and speedometer but currently, an eighteen-wheeler cab is the same as a cockpit. Vehicles are equipped with modern devices like cell phones, MP3 players, changing CDs, television sets, laptop computers, and GPS (geographical positioning systems) with all these facilities in the vehicles drivers are obstructed during driving leading to accidents on the roads in the US. In modern life multitasking is common among the majority of people and pedestrians are at risk of being involved in accidents as a result of electronic devices that sidetrack drivers.

On the other hand, pedestrians also cannot fight back the urge to use cell phones or headphones are at a high rate of being involved in accidents as they won’t be keen while crossing the roads, can not hear a car horn, or detect a motorcycle making a turn just ahead of them. For instance in North Carolina at least in two months, two pedestrians were knocked down to death because they walked down the train tracks they did not hear the train engine with music playing on their headphones, (Paul et al.2009:324)

It is approximated that between 20 and thirty percent of road accidents in the US are contributed by electronic devices particularly talking on the cell phone and changing road stations while driving, (Wayne, P. 2005;8-15). According to the cellular telecommunication and internet association, 84 percent of Americans own Cell phones and the majority of them use them while driving leading to high accident rates. On yearly basis, approximately 2,600 people die and 333000 people in the US are severely injured as a result of drivers using cell phones while driving.

It is even alarming that Americans are using personal digital that affects attention when driving. Like last fall in Los Angeles, 25 people died and 113 were severely injured when a commuter train run into a freight train. Furthermore, according to the investigation carried out by the National Transportation Safety Board investigation established that the collision occurred because of text messaging, before the crash the train engineer had sent that text. In 2008 alone Americans sent 600 billion texts which were ten times more than three years before. It was also estimated that 41 percent of Americans were using the Internet while driving.

However, the problem is not only with the drivers but also the pedestrians especially the females crossing roads while talking on the phone, do not pay attention to vehicle horns and they cross very slowly which also contributes to the number of accidents in America, (Amy, N.2009;32). Another study carried out in the US by the National wide Mutual Insurance Company indicates that out of 1,200 drivers, 73% of them talk on mobile phones while driving, 19 % send text messages. Additionally, 10 percent are on the hands-free accessory device. Therefore, motorists who talk or send text messages while driving are four times at risk of injuring themselves in the vehicle crash

In the past decade use of electronic devices has improved but it’s unclear how much harm they can cause but is clear is that talking and texting while driving will cause obstruction, the driver will lose attention contributing to vehicle accidents. According to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute in the state of Virginia, the use of electronic devices particularly cellular phones has improved. 80 % of accidents occur of which 65 percent are brought about by drivers being obstructed by electronic devices. In addition, the use of hands-free accessories contributed to more car crashes, Virginia Tech Study

In Pennsylvania, there are no laws that restrict the use of electronic devices while driving, as a result, the rate of car accidents is high than in other states in the US. For instance, from 2003 to 2006 50 people lost their lives, 241 were injured due to car accidents from the use of electronic devices like the cell phone, (Penn DOT, 2008).

Ethical principles

As personal communication and entertainment devices develop but it comes a time when motorists should use them. Hence, motorists should use electronic devices only when; the devices have well-equipped hands-free accessories. When they making emergency calls including 911 or 311, hospitals, an ambulance, fire brigade department, law enforcement, or first aid department.

Motorists will also be allowed to use mobile phones if operating to fulfill the official duties such as drivers of authorized emergency or motorists from the law enforcement department, (Codification District of Columbia Official Code, 2001). Airlines policies particularly the flight attendants are normally clear on when electronic devices because the character of some passengers can be annoying to others on the plane including the pilot.

As far airline transport is concerned in the US both the passengers are allowed to use electronic personal devices only when: They can be used before push back and after landing so that they do not distrust others in the plane like the pager. Devices that are used all the time such as digital watches, electronic nerve stimulators, hearing aids among others. Devices that can be used during cruise 15 minutes after taking off include laptops, pagers, MP3 players, and digital cameras. However, motorists should not be allowed to use electronic devices because some of these devices make a noise like the headphones or the earphones making them lose concentration as a result lead to accidents. In addition, watching inappropriate videos while during is not appropriate as it proves the passengers or even the drivers leading to crash.

Motorists should also avoid the use of electronic devices because they are too loud hence obstruct them. Furthermore, if the motorist is a learner of driving a school because even if the vehicle is installed with wireless devices. If found violating the regulations they will have to pay a penalty of $100 and their driving licenses revoked for six months.

Rules

Different departments have come up with several acts that allow motorists to use electronic devices while driving. For example, the District of Columbia has implemented traffic rules to ensure safety on the road, such rules include: motorists are allowed to use electronic devices as long as their vehicles are installed with hands-free devices. On the other side, these regulations do not allow school bus drivers and those learning to drive to use electronic devices even if the vehicles are equipped with hands-free accessories but it is important to note that times these rules are not adhered to since traffic enforcers are not always on the look and drivers or pedestrians contribute to use electronic devices, (Codification District of Columbia Official Code, 2001).

Other regulations include drivers facing a life sentence if they cause death as a result of the use of electronic devices or two years jail if they injure the passengers or the pedestrians as long as there is proof. However, these regulations are not fully forcing simply because only drivers using mobile phones are prosecuted and those using other electronic devices like the iPod, Mp3 others go free as a result use of mobile phones while driving is still a major issue as the regulations are not that strict. The main problem is getting evidence because telling whether the crashes occurred because the driver was talking over the phone about changing Compact discs is hard therefore need for quick knowledge, subscribers authority, and court order to establish the time accident occurred, (AllLaw.com)

Solutions

To ensure safety on roads various devices have been put in place. For example, driving standards are in place to ensure safety. These standards allow motorists to use electronic devices like cell phones only when the vehicle has in-built speakers or devices like a hands-free accessory. In addition, drivers involved in the accident as a result of electronic devices have to pay penalties for violating traffic acts. The act endorsed by the council of the District of Columbia states that: Drivers will not be obstructed by personal communication technologies or any other activities that cause obstructions. Drivers should use both hands when driving to minimize the number of accidents, also this will use of both hands can be promoted by installing temporary or permanent hands-free accessories in the vehicles.

While driving motorists are not allowed to use mobile telephones-cellular, wireless, analog, or digital phones that can send or receive messages. Any driver found guilty will pay penalties this is according to section 6 (a) of the traffic act which prohibits the use of mobile phones but allows for emergency cases only like 911 or 311 and anyone acting on official duties such as emergency vehicle drivers.

The penalty will be $100; but first-timers will not be fined, (Codification District of Columbia Official Code, 2001). The government of the United State has responded by outlawing the use of cell phones while driving demands are mainly from the media and political rallies. For instance in the state of New York taking on a cell phone while driving is against the law. From 2003 the federal government called upon all states in the US to trail all the accidents caused as a result of distraction by electronic devices. The main goal was primarily to rule out if at all the electronic devices were such a serious issue in road accidents.

More devices are being designed to ensure safety on the roads. The manufactures and engineers have come up with a computer system that would prevent drivers from accessing television sets, cell phones, or the GPS while in traffic snarls. In that, the computer will alert the authority in case the driver attempts to use electronic devices or if the driver is in a haze, (Wayne, P.2005; 8-15) The state of California is also against the use of electric devices while driving. The vehicle code section allows that all drivers who want to communicate while driving should have installed devices in the vehicles. Since this is enacted to ensure safety and reduce injuries a drive found guilty will be charged in a court of law and particularly if someone dies or is fatally injured the driver will face manslaughter charges.

California Vehicle Code Section 23123 does not allow persons under 18 years to use wireless devices and in addition, the Code provides that all persons under the age of 18 will not be permitted to drive and use electronic devices even if the vehicle is installed with a hands-free accessory. For instance in 2009 from January drivers in California were restricted against sending, writing, and reading text messages. In addition, many employers have executed policies that restrict their employees from using electronic devices even if the vehicle is equipped with wireless devices to ensure safety for pedestrians, passengers, and drivers.

Other solutions to ensure safety on the roads are developing a technological intervention to reduce workload. This can be the use of an alert system that scrutinizes the motorists while on the road. Another aspect is the use of a tool that monitors traffic, road surface, and visibility the tool is very significant as it prevents the drivers from accessing electronic devices while driving, (Amy, N.2009;32).

Drivers who fail to follow traffic rules such use of electronic devices like mobile phones, satellite navigation systems, or MP3 players while driving should be jailed for a maximum of two years. With such tough regulations in place drivers who cause death should be facing a life sentence, however, not all drivers who use electronic devices face the law but a few who use them and cause accidents, (AllLaw.com)

Contemporary auto industries have incorporated state-of-the-art machines that support enhanced speeds. Lengthy hours along the thoroughfare are subject to the unexpected. As such, it calls for attentiveness while inching along the highway and also while cruising, (Paul et al.2009:324). Extensive research shows that pedestrians are predisposed to fatal dangers, especially when caught up in an accident; this is because they don’t access the tough amour of an auto’s shell protecting them from lethal injury or indemnity that emerges with seat fastens as well as air sacks. According to the grievances legal representative concerning Atlanta, it can only be sensible when pedestrians preclude catastrophes to begin with by disconnecting their cell phones as well as taking off their earpieces. Several proposals have been purveyed.

Experts do recommend that getting up early and eating breakfast and also applying makeup minus having to perform these duties while in a hurry to work in a car would help avert most careless highway carnages. If someone must use a mobile phone, they ought to hold on until pulling over at a most secure region before reverting phone calls as well as jotting notes, (Amy, N.2009;32). To substantiate that electronic gadget might have resulted in an accident require sophisticated expertise to unravel. Comprehensive statistics concerning the driver’s application of mobile phones are confidentiality sheltered, only sealed for a short interval, and necessitates the subscriber’s endorsement, quad order, or subpoena.

Determining the interlude of the accident, 911 prompts are rather essential, although these records are at the same time privacy secured and saved by law enforcement as well as the mobile corporation for only a curtailed interval. What drivers should recall is the fact that driving is an intricate affair that prompts complete attention when behind the wheel. What drivers should desist from is nothing but avoid talking with commuters. Reviews carried with orientation to highway carnage reveals that horrific crashes have always occurred where individual persons involved are told to have been texting, consequently drivers have rammed into stationary traffic in motorway flanks blindly.

References

Wayne, P. Distractions and Traffic Accidents, Cambriddge University press; UK.2005; 8-15).

Paul et al, Human factors in traffic safety. Lawyers and judges publication New York 2009:324.

Codification District of Columbia Official Code, 2001 Edition West Group Publisher, 1-800-228-2180.

Amy N. Monitor on psychology; monitor 2009; Vol 40. Issue no 2; pg 32.

“PennDOT Teen Driver Safety Week News Release.” Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. 2008. Web.

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