Although the majority of Tennessee drivers understand that using cellphones or other electronic devices while driving is dangerous, they still do it. This is most likely because of the convenience rather than necessity. However, while it seems to many drivers that they are capable of performing these activities while driving, the distractions that cell phone use and texting have been clearly demonstrated to be the cause of far too many car accidents on Tennessee roadways.
In an effort to reduce the number of serious and fatal car accidents caused by distracted driving -- estimated to be around 3,000 last year -- the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has recently taken the controversial position of promoting a total, nationwide ban on the use of personal electronic devices while driving.
The federal agency is hoping that every state legislature, including Tennessee's, will recognize the inherent danger of drivers using personal electronic devices, even when the distraction has been minimized, such as through hands-free devices. Completely banning cell phone use in all circumstances, the agency says, would be similar to current laws requiring people to wear seatbelts. Though such laws could be considered intrusive by some, they have been shown to save lives and prevent serious injuries.
Whether the United States could actually become a cell-phone free zone for all drivers is open to debate, as state legislatures may feel pressured not to pass such restrictive laws. Even if they do, of course, some people tend to ignore such laws. Anecdotally, many people who admit using cell phones or texting while driving assume they are capable of managing the distraction and never expect get caught breaking the law, much less get into a car accident. In the end, however, whether cell phone use while driving is banned or not, if drivers are distracted and cause car accidents, they can be held legally responsible for the injuries they inflict.
At the very least, the NTSB recommendations highlight once again the dangers of distractions caused by cell phone use while driving. Please consider these recommendations and drive safely.