How Cell Phone Bans Could Affect the Future
by Kala Bell
Through various news reports this past week, it became known that Chapel Hill, NC had become the first city in the United States to enforce cell phone use by drivers, including the use of hands free devices. Since the law was originally put into place, the town has gone onto place multiple additions onto the ban.
The new ban in Chapel Hill now states that drivers over the age of 18 are prohibited from using a cell phone or related technology while driving. There are waivers for use of cell phones for contact with spouses, immediate family and emergency. Violators will be forced to pay a $25 fine in accordance.
Now that a law like this is in a decent-sized city such as Chapel Hill, what does this mean for the future, specifically regarding teen drivers? It’s likely that the enactment of such a law in a college town like Chapel Hill will inspire other towns to do the same. Right now, there is a need for state and local governments to work on the fight against distracted driving and movement here should trigger others to do the same.
The initial ban of only Chapel Hill will not have a huge short term impact on teens across the country, but it could have a major long term effect. For teens and distracted driving, minimizing usually starts with building awareness at a young age. With bans such as the one in Chapel Hill, it would mean better awareness at a younger age. For example, think about the fact that kids riding in a car would rarely, if ever see their parents using a cell phone, reinforcing the importance of keeping distractions to a minimum.
Certainly texting and driving, as well as other distractions, provide one of the biggest obstacles in teen driver safety. The changing-face of technology also makes things difficult as mobile products and other devices become more of a necessity. Laws such as the one enacted in Chapel Hill may be the only way to minimize distractions, but that is not necessarily a sure thing. In many areas, laws such as these are still in a testing mode of sorts, analyzing whether or not they can be successful and teach lessons.
It’s unknown how much of an impact this new ban could have on teen driver safety in the US, but it’s safe to say that there is a more focused approach to improving safety for drivers these days. As long as the national and local governments continue to put resources towards safer driving practices, teen driver safety should reap some long term benefits.
Kala Bell is a creative writer from the University of Michigan. As an aspiring writer she specializes in writing about safe driving and community issues.