Since the rise of technology, American Government has been faced with the problem of dealing with an issue they had never encountered before. When computers and cellular devices were introduced into society, immediate threats were overlooked and they were seen as an enhancement for daily life. It was evident that these devices would evolve and people would find loopholes to using them unsafely. Social media opened the door for predators, vehicles advanced each year, and cell phones grew to be like a third arm for nearly all Americans. Decades ago, the daily scene we live in of built in GPS systems, touch screen phones, and satellite radios were barely imagined. This fantasy seems picture perfect until you hear that in 2009, 995 people died in car accidents with a cell phone being the distracting factor. This doesn’t even include people injured for the same reason.
Here we are in the 21st century, not thinking twice about answering a call from an important person while driving to work. Individual states have relied on their supreme courts to decide whether talking on the phone while driving is constitutional. Some say yes, some say no, some have not made a decision because the Constitution does not mention technology in the context we use it today. I think that shows a reason for change. Our government did not start with the kind of technology and resources we have today. We want everything done right away and with cell phones and computers; we do not have to wait for answers. A one minute phone call can provide the update we need, regardless if the other person is distracted from driving. My question remains why the federal Supreme Court has not stepped up to providing a law to govern driving while being distracted on your cell phone. I drive to Illinois to go shopping and the law changes for cell phone use while driving. I drive to Minnesota to visit my grandparents and am unaware of Minnesota state law. As a driver, I am responsible for knowing the laws, but it would be simpler to have a precedent.
Learning about different types of law in class gave me an insight of what could be done about the issue of cell phones and driving. The least that could be done is set an administrative law to protect non cell phone distracted drivers from those being distracted by mobile devices. It is evident through research the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has done, that these communication devices can be life threatening. So what is stopping the federal government from making a decision?
Although technology has become a large scale topic in recent years, technology is moving faster than our government can keep up. In America, we have a great system of checks and balances so intricate that we hope to prevent bad decisions from being made. Of course you cannot make everyone happy, but the system of checks and balances at least tries to make the right decisions. The branches of government look into all aspects to eliminate harmful or unsafe resolutions. The problem with this system is time. As I mentioned before, we are a nation that gets answers nearly immediately and our government system does not allow for immediate answers. It is something we are all accustom to, but should it be changed? I wish there was an easy answer for this, but just as much people hate waiting, people hate change.
Using cell phones while driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving, yet the difference between the two is that there is a national restriction on drunk driving and cell phone use remains legal in a number of states. During my 5 o’clock drive home from work each night, the number of fellow drivers talking on their phones is out of control. I fear for my life knowing my safety is basically out of my control when it should be in control. Our nation needs to resolve this issue and fast.
"Cell Phone and Texting Laws." Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Aug. 2011. Web. 13 Aug. 2011.
Christine Barbour and Gerald C. Wright, Keeping the Republic: Power and Citizenship in American Politics, 4th Brief Edition (Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2009).
"Mobile Phones and Driving Safety." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 01 Aug. 2011. Web. 13 Aug. 2011.
Washington D.C. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. U.S. Department of Trasportation. Distracted Driving 2009. National Center for Statistics and Analysis, Sept. 2010. Web. 13 Aug. 2011.