Proposal 2- Distracted Driving


In last weeks post, I examined the issue of distracted driving and focused on texting and driving.  Since cellphones are a more recent technological advancement, the policies and laws to handle the issue have been very new and vary among states. In the first proposal I looked at government policies and campaigns that have been put in place to address the issue. The government sites had plenty of information on recent laws, policies, and campaigns, however this week I was interested in looking at think tanks that could provide me with more facts and statistics and a better understanding of the impact distracted driving has on society. I found the Pew Research Center, which is a think tank, or “fact tank” as they call themselves. The center’s objective is to be a non-partisan group who conducts reports to relay the facts and does not take an opinion or stance on the issue. I found two reports from the site that were based on surveys administered about texting and driving. The reports showed that:

  • Nearly half (47%) of all texting adults say they have sent or read a text message while driving. That compares with one in three (34%) texting teens ages 16-17 who said they had “texted while driving” in a September 2009 survey.
  • Looking at the general population, this means that 27% of all American adults say they have sent or read text messages while driving. That compares with 26% of all American teens ages 16-17 who reported texting at the wheel in 2009.
  • Three in four (75%) cell-owning adults say they have talked on a cell phone while driving. Half (52%) of cell-owning teens ages 16-17 reported talking on a cell phone while driving in the 2009 survey.
  • Among all adults, that translates into 61% who have talked on a cell phone while driving. That compares with 43% of all American teens ages 16-17 who said they had talked on their phones while driving in the 2009 survey.
  • 44% of all adults say they have been in a car when the driver used the cell phone in a way that put themselves or others in danger. About the same number of teens (40%) said they had been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a dangerous way.

The research shows the severity of the issue and the large percentage of the population who engage in texting and driving. Additionally, the report shows that while 44% of all adults and 40% of teens have been in a car where the use of a cell phone put them in danger, it has not prevented or decreased the use of phones while driving. This leads me to believe that while people recognize using a phone while driving is wrong, it does not mean they will change their actions. Therefore, educational policies and bringing awareness may not be the most effective way to fix the issue. Laws that enforce punishment may make a larger impact. I plan on researching more about this idea as I continue my paper.

This report was also extremely helpful in realizing that the issue is not just among young teens, but adults are just as responsible. I think this can be very relevant to my white paper as the policies and laws should be aimed at all age groups and campaigns need to be targeted to adults as well as teens. Currently most of the campaigns are aimed at younger adults, especially through schools. While this is one way to reach the younger age group, I believe education needs to also be targeted to adults. Including information and education within companies could be a way to reach this age group. I plan on looking more into company policies towards texting and driving or distracted driving. I also want to examine how the policies are instituted within the companies and the information and education that goes with it. Overall the think tank proved to be very helpful in better understanding the data that surrounds the issue and how prominent it has become among many age groups. This will be very helpful as I continue with with paper.

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