The Instigator
subdeo
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Romanii
Pro (for)
Winning
6 Points

Should Texting and Driving be Legal?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Romanii
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/28/2017 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 967 times Debate No: 101462
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (23)
Votes (2)

 

subdeo

Con

I want to debate with someone who believes that texting and driving should be legal. i will argue the opposite. First round is acceptance only, last two rounds are for arguments and rebuttals.
Romanii

Pro

Accepted.
Debate Round No. 1
subdeo

Con

While texting and driving may not seem so dangerous, it makes a crash 23 times more likely [1]. Not only does this endanger the culprit, but the others using the road as well. This is the primary reason why texting and driving should be banned.

Sources:

[1] https://www.dosomething.org...
Romanii

Pro

Just because an activity carries the *risk* of harm doesn't mean we should ban it. Literally every activity in existence carries the risk of harm (e.g. playing contact sports, driving a motorcycle, using a stapler, or even eating a peanut butter sandwich). But banning all those activities would clearly be insane.

We as a society abide by the Harm Principle -- we should only ban activities which inherently tend to inflict harm on other people. Otherwise, individual liberty must be preserved.

There is nothing inherently harmful about texting-and-driving. The vast majority of instances in which people text-and-drive do not result in accidents. Many people (such as myself, for example) are able to regularly text-and-drive without any problems whatsoever. There's absolutely no reason to punish somebody simply for having their phone out while driving, if they aren't causing any actual problems on the road.

We already have laws against reckless driving. If somebody's texting-and-driving is causing them to engage in observably dangerous behavior on the road, then they'll get punished for that.

If you really want to deter the practice of texting-and-driving, you can do so without banning it. Regulation to minimize the harms of risky activities is allowed under the Harm Principle. Make a law that causes any traffic fines to be doubled if the guilty party was texting at the time of the violation. The same can apply to damages paid in motor vehicle accident lawsuits.

Not only is Con's proposed law fundamentally unjust, but it's also plain unnecessary.
Debate Round No. 2
subdeo

Con

Although I am a conservative, and generally opt for personal rights, in this case, I believe that general safety should be prioritized. This is especially true since others, not just the perpetrator, could get hurt. As you say, there is a risk to everything under the sun. However, we need to decide if texting and driving is a risk enough to warrant banning it.

There are many risks involved in texting while driving, one of which being the fact that it makes an accident 23 times as likely [1]. In addition, "5 seconds is the minimal amount of attention that a driver who texts takes away from the road. If traveling at 55 mph, this equals driving the length of a football field without looking at the road."Also, "Teens who text while driving spend 10% of the time outside their lane." [1] These are the things that warrant banning texting and driving.

Also, you say, "The vast majority of instances in which people text-and-drive do not result in accidents". This may be the case, but let"s look at airport security scanning to get some perspective. The vast majority of those who are scanned would not have been any threat. So why don"t we just stop the scans? Because it only takes one terrorist to cause a whole world of trouble. It is the same with texting and driving. Although most times, no actual danger is caused, it only takes that one time, and the texter, and likely others in nearby traffic to die.

Sources:

[1] https://www.dosomething.org...
Romanii

Pro

Con concedes the debate by failing to respond to my counter-plan (enforcing reckless driving laws and creating a disincentive mechanism via additional penalties). It would have virtually the same effect as a ban in terms of public safety, except it wouldn't punish innocent drivers who are using their phones without harming anybody. There is literally no reason to implement a ban on texting-and-driving.

On top of that, Con does not contest the Harm Principle. Instead, he attempts to prove that texting-and-driving qualifies as "inherently harmful" (thus warranting a ban under the Harm Principle). Unfortunately for him, his attempt was not successful. For something to be inherently harmful, it must directly result in harm the vast majority of the time, which simply isn't the case with texting-and-driving. Nothing he says changes the fact that only a miniscule percentage of instances in which people text-and-drive actually result in harm to anybody.

His airport security analogy doesn't hold up, because it doesn't involve banning anything. Airport security screening is an example of a regulation designed to minimize the harm of a risky activity, which is totally permissible under the Harm Principle. A more apt analogy would be an outright ban on air travel in order to avoid the risk of terrorist attacks... which is flagrantly absurd, just like Con's advocacy in this debate.

Vote Pro because (1) I have shown that under the framework of this debate, a ban on texting-and-driving is fundamentally unwarranted, and (2) Con dropped my counter-plan, which was clearly superior to his proposal.
Debate Round No. 3
23 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by whiteflame 9 months ago
whiteflame
I disagree, but if you want to get into it, we can discuss this further via PM.
Posted by tejretics 9 months ago
tejretics
Wylted's vote was sufficient.

Con's case is defeated by Pro's CP. Con concedes the harm principle, which means Pro wins under the mutually accepted framework. That's all there is to the debate.
Posted by Wylted 9 months ago
Wylted
I just don't care anymore. I will just be more thorough, despite the fact that being more thorough just means stating stuff that was already implied and both debaters know exactly what I mean. I just massively expanded if that is what you want to call it, and wasted a bunch of space, and neither debater gained anything at all from it.
Posted by whiteflame 9 months ago
whiteflame
Wylted, if you'd done nothing else but posted a vote with "RFD in comments", you would have been fine. You didn't have to massively expand on your RFD to make it sufficient - it was the moment you posted your first response to me here in the comments, and I told you as much.
Posted by Wylted 9 months ago
Wylted
jesus christ my original RFD basically said the same thing as Tejretics. whatever it's done.
Posted by Wylted 9 months ago
Wylted
1/5
I am redoing this vote, but in all likelihood it will be removed because I am stating the exact same thing, but wording it differently. If it is not removed then it is a testament to the low reading comprehension of the mods because it basically says the same exact thing.
Con says "While texting and driving may not seem so dangerous, it makes a crash 23 times more likely [1]. Not only does this endanger the culprit, but the others using the road as well. This is the primary reason why texting and driving should be banned."
Good argument and unchallenged source, so this stands until the end of the debate. I would urge con in the future to make at least a few arguments in case one fails, and maybe lay some sort of moral framework, instead of conceding the moral framework to his opponent.
Pro says "We as a society abide by the Harm Principle -- we should only ban activities which inherently tend to inflict harm on other people. Otherwise, individual liberty must be preserved."
This is where pro lays the moral framework by discussing the harm principle. Con needs to attack this. It is not well supported and it is also incorrect. Con could point out that, as a society we do care about the individual and is why we create things like laws against snorting cocaine. Con could maybe point out that it is easier to enforce driving codes than to enforce a texting law after the fact, and that driving code is not technically law and therefore pro is off topic anyway. For example speeding 5mph over the speed limit is not illegal though it certainly violates traffic ordinance. Any of these points could have been used to attack pro, and all may have failed, but it is better than letting some unsupported leap in logic just stand. This argument is not attacked and stands. Good job con.
Posted by Wylted 9 months ago
Wylted
2/5
Pro says "We already have laws against reckless driving. If somebody's texting-and-driving is causing them to engage in observably dangerous behavior on the road, then they'll get punished for that."
This is where pro shows that the law is pointless and already covered by other laws, making it redundant. I ignored this because despite making the law redundant, pro still offers a counterplan which destroys the point of calling the law redundant. This point is ignored for that reason and does not factor into my decision making process.
Pro says "If you really want to deter the practice of texting-and-driving, you can do so without banning it. Regulation to minimize the harms of risky activities is allowed under the Harm Principle. Make a law that causes any traffic fines to be doubled if the guilty party was texting at the time of the violation. The same can apply to damages paid in motor vehicle accident lawsuits."
This is pro"s counter plan. Con needs to address this to win the debate. Con has already conceded pro"s points, so all con has to do to win the debate is to explain why pro"s C/P fails. Unfortunately pro just lets it slide, and round 2 arguments decide the fate of the debate for the most part.
Posted by Wylted 9 months ago
Wylted
3/5

Round 3

I actually am granting a lot of leeway in this round to make new arguments, especially for con because of the incredibly short debate. In 3 round debates we should be allowing a lot of stuff to slide in the final round. Moving on.
Con says "Although I am a conservative, and generally opt for personal rights, in this case, I believe that general safety should be prioritized"
Nobody cares. This is a waste of character space and it also sucks if being used as rhetoric. You are not speaking to a conservative audience. This is a bunch of teenagers and young adults on the site. Even the ones who call themselves conservative are actually liberals. Though I ignored what was said here when weighing arguments, con needs to be aware of the subconscious biases of the judges and people reading should see him as belonging to their own political camp.
Con says "There are many risks involved in texting while driving, one of which being the fact that it makes an accident 23 times as likely [1]. In addition, "5 seconds is the minimal amount of attention that a driver who texts takes away from the road. If traveling at 55 mph, this equals driving the length of a football field without looking at the road."Also, "Teens who text while driving spend 10% of the time outside their lane." [1] These are the things that warrant banning texting and driving."
Con you have actually improved your earlier arguments by posting this, but for the most part it is just unnecessary repetition. Next time bring out all your guns early as far as affirmative arguments. Maybe hold one affirmative argument back in hopes you can use it in the rebuttal round, but in a debate this short just pull it out immediately. Good argument, I grant that pro actually concedes all these points. The problem is that it applies to his C/P as it does to your ultimate position.
Posted by Wylted 9 months ago
Wylted
4/5
Con says "The vast majority of instances in which people text-and-drive do not result in accidents". This may be the case, but let"s look at airport security scanning to get some perspective. The vast majority of those who are scanned would not have been any threat. So why don"t we just stop the scans? Because it only takes one terrorist to cause a whole world of trouble. It is the same with texting and driving. Although most times, no actual danger is caused, it only takes that one time, and the texter, and likely others in nearby traffic to die."
This is as close as con gets to attacking pro"s C/P. Unfortunately it also leaves me scratching my head. I"m wondering what the hell does security trying to prevent targeted attacks have to do with preventing acts of negligence. How does it relate? Even if It was a perfect analogy, which it is far from being and judges should disregard it, it still does not address why we should ignore the harm principle. If anything all you did was make a case for not screening for terrorists.
At this point Pros C/P stands and con has failed to do enough to win the debate, despite pro"s cocky attitude exposing enough of his weaknesses to give con plenty of opportunity.
Posted by Wylted 9 months ago
Wylted
5/5
Pro says "Con concedes the debate by failing to respond to my counter-plan (enforcing reckless driving laws and creating a disincentive mechanism via additional penalties)."
Excellent conclusion. Also con should take note. Pro is helping me to reach a reasonable conclusion. Pro you could have spun everything that preceded this round as making you the winner and helped judges reach that conclusion as well, but you missed the opportunity.
Pro says "Vote Pro because (1) I have shown that under the framework of this debate, a ban on texting-and-driving is fundamentally unwarranted, and (2) Con dropped my counter-plan, which was clearly superior to his proposal."
Okay pro. We have pretty muched reached the same conclusion. Con can learn a lot from how you took control of this debate, and especially from how you used your final round to guide the judges" actions.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Wylted 9 months ago
Wylted
subdeoRomaniiTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments, for now
Vote Placed by tejretics 9 months ago
tejretics
subdeoRomaniiTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con concedes the harm principle and argues that texting and driving is harmful. Pro's proposal to create penalties to bad driving in texting/driving cases and to enforce reckless driving laws solves Con's harms; Con drops this point. Since texting and driving is no longer bad under the harm principle, I vote Pro.