Opinion

The phone’s gone, what about accidents?

On July 1 of this year, Washington become one of the last states to ban talking on a cell phone while driving.

In response to this, my dad gave me a hands-free device for my phone. Not a fancy Bluetooth, but a more modest apparatus that suits me just fine. Besides, I have a tendency of breaking or losing expensive technology, so this cheap alternative was all I needed. While driving while talking on a cell phone is a secondary offense, I’d rather not have to fork over the $124. I have already received a speeding ticket and don’t need to give the cops another reason to pull me over and take my money.

My ear piece consists of a single headphone with a speaker at mouth level and a chord that plugs into the phone. The device works fine, but I have found that when I receive a call while driving, as I set up the device, the chord gets tangled. Consequently, I spend a great deal of attention on the chord instead of the road. I am not so sure that is much safer than punching a few buttons.

Now please don’t stereotype me as a teen that can’t live without her phone. I support the ban, it’s just that my daily schedule can get so packed that often the only opportunity I have to catch up with a friend or make an appointment is while I am driving.

What troubles me is that this attention-demanding ear piece is legal. But then I think of everything else that takes my full concentration from the road, such as when I am drinking my extra large diet soda from Jack in the Box, conversing with friends or playing with the road. Sure, people can choose when they take a sip of a pop or play with the radio, but we are human beings and make poor choices.

Banning cell-phone use while driving is a step toward safer driving, but the bottom line is that accidents will still occur. Drivers need to be more educated on safe driving, and rules must be strictly enforced. Perhaps 16 is too young for the legal driving age, after all, my own age group has the most incidences of collisions.

Banning cell phones may tackle a portion of accidents on the road, but there are many other contributing factors. It is not a coincidence that I got my speeding ticket while blasting the radio. I was jamming to “Love Train” and was paying no attention whatsoever to the speedometer, but the government can’t ban radio use while driving … right?

Elsa Watland is an Inglemoor High senior.

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