21 Mar 2022


Distraction by Texting while Driving

Format: APA

Academic level: College

Paper type: Coursework

Words: 2079

Pages: 7

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Having exhaustively dealt with the generalities of distraction while driving including the general causes, the scope of the issue and the proposed general solutions, the instant paper seeks to exhaustively handle the specific issue of the distraction relating to texting while driving; a key issue within the driving distraction arena. Indeed, texting tops the list of specific distractions in the official federal driving distraction website named Distraction.gov and contributes to tens of thousands of fatal and serious traffic accidents. This makes it a vital area of consideration and attention with regard to the stemming of traffic accident carnage and improvement of road safety (Gupta, Burns & Boyd, 2016) . Whereas it is impossible to completely eradicate texting by drivers, there has to be away to control the runaway distraction occasioned by this habit as its dangerous effect on our roads is getting out of hand.

Scope of the problem

Texting and driving also known as texting while driving is defined as the act of reading, composing and sending text messages and emails while in control of a motor vehicle (Hayashi, Russo & Wirth, 2015) . Texting has become a social norm in the contemporary times more so among the younger generation. The desire to check on a text message or an email when the phone chimes has been defined by psychologists to be stronger that the desire to use hard narcotics by an addict. Normally, a quick check on a text message or an email without replying takes about five seconds; the vehicle moving at an average speed of about forty kilometers per hour, these five seconds amount to driving a distance similar to an entire football field while blindfolded, add the matrix of rush-hour traffic and this scenario creates a picture of several near misses and actual accidents, many of them fatal or leaning to serious accidents (Gupta, Burns & Boyd, 2016)

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With this younger generation forming a major cross-section of road users the euphemism outlined above is the actual reality on the road leading to approximately eleven teen deaths in the US every single day. Overally, texting is the major contributor in the over half a million serious injury causing accidents, six thousand of which are fatal. Modest estimates indicate that over 25% of all car accidents in the US are occasioned by texting while driving (“The dangers of Texting while driving,” 2015) .

Target Group

Generally, the problem of texting while driving specifically involves the younger generation; beginning with the student drivers up to the beginning of the middle age (Hayashi, Russo & Wirth, 2015) . This classification is premised on several factors the first among them being the notoriety of the internet social networks. The internet social networks have created a virtual world where members of online gangs known as groups keep each other updated on all current issues in their respective lives in great detail (Gupta, Burns & Boyd, 2016) . A young person will not only want to inform the friend when she gets to the shopping mall but also send umpteen pictures, called “selfies”. The other members in the group will then peruse the posts and comment on them while also indicating where they are and what they are doing. It is not an exception to see a comment like ‘driving to school’ below a real-time photo of the sender actually driving (“The dangers of Texting while driving,” 2015) .

The working class has also developed the same trend with ideas and information being generally exchanged in online or through text messages, a working class driver who is expecting important communication from either a superior or a client will feel inclined to always check on the phone when it chimes even in fast moving highway traffic (Rumschlag et al., 2015) . A mother who left a sick child in school, or a spouse who had a quarrel with a husband or wife; a person who is expecting news of a loved one in distress are also major contributors to the continued dangerous behavior (Rumschlag et al, 2015) (Hayashi, Russo & Wirth, 2015) . The referenced examples will lead these drivers to not only check their phones but also be distracted by the very message that they receive leading to more time spent with eyes of the road and a higher propensity for accidents (Rumschlag et al, 2015)

The final ground for picking the younger generation as the target group for this paper if the kind of vehicles they drive: the older generation of motor vehicles was driver controlled; the steering wheel controlled the steering system with the brake pedal controlling the braking system of the vehicle with the other aspects following suit (Gupta, Burns & Boyd, 2016) . The new generation motor vehicle incorporates a complex computerized system that actually controls the motor vehicle with the controlling acts of the driver being interpreted by this computerized system: this situation creates a scenario where the wrong acts by a distracted driver will be misinterpreted by the system thus augmenting their negative effects and increasing the likelihood of an accident (Hayashi, Russo & Wirth, 2015) . With this being a life and death situation for this group, the relevance of the topic is to try and ensure that the unavoidable convergence of the two vital aspects of their lives, to wit driving and texting does not result in their death or critical injury through car accidents.

Probable Solutions

The second reason for this classification is that they mostly use the new generation android phones. The older generation phone that generally had a total of fewer than 10 keys could be handled without even looking at the phone and had a simple screen where a simple glance could reveal a lot to the user. The android phone does not even have a keypad and the virtual QWERTY keypad requires high concentration to use (“The dangers of Texting while driving,” 2015) . This coupled with the flashy screens that have the capacity to use text photos and even videos increase the level and duration of distraction and by extension the propensity of accidents (Gupta, Burns & Boyd, 2016) . It is this younger generation that this writing therefore targets. 

The first instinct reflex, when faced with a dangerous issue is eliminating it; however, this reflex must be tempered with the probability of eliminating the problem coupled with the effect and capacity for doing the same. The question that this situation generates is: is to completely eliminate texting while driving? The informed answer will have to be a no, for starters, the nature and form of most urban driving involves spending a considerable time stuck in traffic jams and queues (“The dangers of Texting while driving,” 2015). When a driver has to spend over half an hour at a time stuck in traffic doing nothing, it is impossible to logically insist that the driver stays off the phone. Unfortunately, once the conversation begins it will not be easy to curtail it even after the traffic snarl up ends or after getting to the end of the cue (Hayashi, Russo & Wirth, 2015).

Another way of understanding this argument is to look at a related predicament: the texting while driving problem closely mirrors the sex problem, another contentious and dangerous issue among the younger generation. The initial reaction to teenage sex was the teaching of abstinence with most religion based schools refusing to teach other ways and means of contraception or protection from sexually transmitted diseases and insisting on abstinence. This led to many young people having unprotected sex with its divergent negative impacts due to a solution being premised on an impossibility. The right solution was the one that encouraged abstinence while at the same time sensitizing the students on ways and means of protecting themselves if ever abstinence failed.

The problem of driving and texting should also be resolved through a similar multifaceted approach. An approach that discourages driving while texting yet assumes that driving while texting will still happens and therefore seeks ways and means of keeping the drivers as well as other road users safe despite the notoriety of the dangerous practice (Gupta, Burns & Boyd, 2016). This multifaceted approach should also be multilayered to include pre-driving training, continuous training and punitive measures for accident and non-accident violations of the rules and regulations formulated through this multi-facetted and multilayered solution. Among the extra-ordinary measures taken should also involve the development of mechanisms that enable drivers to text safely while driving in the same way that hands free technology has assisted drivers to talk safely while driving.

Pre-driving training

As we have already established that texting while driving is a necessary evil that cannot be done away with, the first step in resolving its negative effects is incorporating it in the initial driving training and examinations. The potential drivers should be sensitized on the dangers of texting while driving and advised to avoid it as much as possible and if possible avoid it altogether (Hayashi, Russo & Wirth, 2015). 

However, they should also be taught ways and means of safely texting while driving; including how to text safely while driving, how to keep an eye on the road while still using a mobile phone and in which particular scenarios they should avoid any and all temptations to text while driving. The training should also involve simulations where the capacity of the student to adhere to the laid down texting while driving is examined (Rumschlag et al, 2015). This scope should also be included in the driving course tests. As it is clear that the young driver will at one point text while driving, we can as well ensure that they know how to do it safely.

Continuous driving training and assessment

Most professional affiliations encourage continuous training for its members with some professions insisting on continuous training as a basic requirement for continued practice, a good example being CLE for the legal profession. Whereas driving may not be a formal profession for most, it is however progressive in nature with the vehicles themselves, the roads and the driving environment transforming continuously over time (Gupta, Burns & Boyd, 2016). Continuous training and assessment in general should be created and encouraged and with regard to texting while driving made mandatory as both the phone and the car keep on changing and a person who was proficient in using them both ten years ago would be at a loss with the changes that have taken place in the last decade alone. The training modules should be designed to cover the changes both in motor vehicle technology and advancement in mobile phone designs and usage.

Punitive Measures

The law should also be amended to incorporate the multifaceted and layered approach to the driving while texting problem. There should be laws to encourage drivers to enroll in the continuous training programs and punish those caught texting while driving yet they have not adhered to these laws. Further, when a driver is convicted for offences relating to an accident occasioned by driving while texting, prior strict adherence to the continuous training program should clearly be seemed to apply as a mitigating factor in any punitive measures meted in an effort to encourage the training and through the training reduce the carnage (Gupta, Burns & Boyd, 2016). Stiffer penalties should also be meted on those who ignore training and eventually occasion accident as well as repeat offenders (Hayashi, Russo & Wirth, 2015). Part of the punitive measure should also involve rigorous training and testing on texting while driving before being licensed to drive again.

Technological Advancement

The predicament of talking on phone while driving has mostly be resolved through technological advancements including the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technologies which incorporate the phone onto the car sound system and the use of earpieces (He et al., 2015). In the same way technology can also be created to enable the reading and replying of texts and emails without distracting the driver’s hands or eyes. Voice activated texting has already been developed and is being fine-tuned while research is underway to develop applications that can accurately read out a text or email (He, et al, 2015). The combination of this technological advancements can be used to create a mechanisms where texting only uses hearing and speaking, two faculties that are least utilized during driving therefore creating a safe way or driving while texting.

It is clear from the foregoing that driving while texting is a critical problem and a great killer on our roads occasioning thousands of deaths annually. This situation has the capacity to get much worse in the coming days as the younger generation prone to driving and texting gradually increases in the percentage of road users. It has also been clearly established that texting while driving should be discouraged and reduced as much as possible, it cannot be completely eliminated due to the propensity and importance of both driving and texting in the contemporary society. However, the situation as it stands today is untenable and must be remedied efficiently and effectively.

The proposed multifaceted and multilayered solution however, can with proper modalities for implementation and sustainability gradually reduce the problem to manageable levels. The eventual absolute solution can only emanate from the technological creation of viable ways and means to safely text while still driving. A proper approach involving all these means and ways should be developed , adopted and implements as the problem of texting while driving is slowly getting out if hand.


2015. “ The dangers of Texting while driving.” Retrieve from https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/dangers-texting-while-driving 

Gupta, P. B., Burns, D. J., & Boyd, H. (2016). Texting While Driving: An Empirical Investigation of Students’ Attitudes and Behaviors. Information systems management , 33(1), 88-101. doi:10.1080/10580530.2016.1117884 

Hayashi, Y., Russo, C. T., & Wirth, O. (2015). Texting while driving as impulsive choice: A behavioral economic analysis. Accident analysis & prevention , 83,182-189. doi:10.1016/j.aap.2015.07.025 

He, J., Choi, W., McCarley, J. S., Chaparro, B. S., & Wang, C. (2015). Texting while driving using Google Glass™: Promising but not distraction-free. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 81, 218-229. doi:10.1016/j.aap.2015.03.033 

Rumschlag, G., Palumbo, T., Martin, A., Head, D., George, R., & Commissaris, R. L. (2015). The effects of texting on driving performance in a driving simulator: The influence of driver age. Accident analysis & prevention, 74, 145-149. doi:10.1016/j.aap.2014.10.009 

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