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Hands on the wheel, ears off the phone

Talking on the phone while driving should be illegal in Tennessee in order to increase driver safety throughout the state.

According to the Tennessean, the Tennessee state legislators discussed a bill which outlaws the use of a mobile phone with your hands while driving. The bill not only includes texting but holding a phone to your ear to call someone.

The bill also encompasses the problem of many millennials using Snapchat while driving or getting on any form of social media while controlling a vehicle.

Although the piece of legislation is an inconvenience to many drivers in the state, the bill is created to protect all drivers and passengers.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,477 people were killed in a motor vehicle crashes involving distracted driving in 2015. Also, 391,000 people were injured due to distracted driving in 2015.

Some people argue talking on the phone while driving is not a distraction because a person can keep their eyes on the road.

However, when a person is calling another individual, he must type in a telephone number, which is similar to sending a text message.

Also, even if a person’s eyes are on the road, the driver’s mind may wander to the topic of the phone call and not the traffic on the road.

“Using the car’s Bluetooth device or having the phone on speaker phone while calling is fine as long as both hands are on the wheel,” senior English major Jonathan Johnson said.

According to the Times Free Press, the bill still allows drivers to use hands-free cell phones by relying on Bluetooth or a phone’s speaker-phone function.

The importance of safe driving is having the driver’s physical attention- both eyes and hands- on the road ahead and on the wheel.

“A driver should always keep their hands on the wheel because you never know what the other drivers will do on the road, the landscape of the area, or even the weather,” Johnson said.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 14 states banned the use of hand-held cell phones while driving and 46 states enforce a texting while driving ban. 

People simply do not understand how dangerous driving is, especially for teenagers.

They think driving is easy and multitasking is capable as long as one hand is on the wheel and you look at the road from time to time.

However, a driver’s safety is important to everyone- the driver, other drivers, passengers and bystanders.

It only takes a quick distraction such as holding the phone to call someone while driving to end up in an accident.

Some smartphone applications are stepping in to end distracted driving.

According to Verizon Wireless, Cellcontrol, Drive Safe Mode and Live2Txt are smartphone applications that block the driver’s ability to text and drive.

Cellcontrol issues a device that is inserted under the dashboard of the car.

When the car is in motion, the application will block incoming messages and also disables the phone’s camera.

Driving is risky and dangerous, yet it is the primary transportation for most Americans.

In order to provide safety for citizens, the Tennessee state legislators need to vote in favor of the bill which bans the use of talking on the phone while driving.

About Sarah Eskildson

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