The Instigator
jj43zz
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Stephen_Hawkins
Con (against)
Winning
13 Points

Should it be illegal to text while driving?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Stephen_Hawkins
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/25/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,807 times Debate No: 25270
Debate Rounds (1)
Comments (5)
Votes (4)

 

jj43zz

Pro

1 round to win it all!

Yes it should be illegal.

Have you ever been following another driver on the open highway and they begin to slow down for no apparent reason? Chances are they are texting or otherwise using a mobile device. Ever notice a vehicle in rush hour traffic driving "differently" and when you pass them it is a woman putting on make-up? These and other things are called "distracted driving" and cause many accidents. Texas has a law making it illegal to use a cell phone in a school zone. Many cities have laws against using a cell phone while driving. I use a blue-tooth device while driving and never text while driving. I believe that a hands-free cell phone device should be standard equipment in all new vehicles.

Texting while driving causes:
1. 1,600,000 accidents per year – National Safety Council
2. 330,000 injuries per year – Harvard Center for Risk Analysis Study
3. 11 teen deaths EVERY DAY – Ins. Institute for Hwy Safety Fatality Facts
4. Nearly 25% of ALL car accidents
Texting While Driving Is:
1. About 6 times more likely to cause an accident than driving intoxicated
2. The same as driving after 4 beers – National Hwy Transportation Safety Admin.
3. The number one driving distraction reported by teen drivers
Texting While Driving:
1. Makes you 23X more likely to crash – National Hwy Transportation Safety Admin.
2. Is the same as driving blind for 5 seconds at a time – VA. Tech Transportation Institute
3. Takes place by 800,000 drivers at any given time across the country
4. Slows your brake reaction speed by 18%– Human Factors & Ergonomics Society
5. Leads to a 400% increase with eyes off the road.
source - http://www.textinganddrivingsafety.com...

Why shouldn't it be illegal??? It is dangerous. Enough Said.
Stephen_Hawkins

Con

I'll go through this quickly and simply. I have to rebut each of my opponent's arguments in order to win the debate.

Dangers of Texting while driving

It is true that there is some dangers with texting while driving. Of course there is. Driving itself is a dangerous task, with millions dying a year. Does that mean we should ban driving outright? Of course not. Texting by itself isn't something that is inherently dangerous. But how dangerous is texting?

My opponent's (one) source

Notice how the evidence is only that one blog. Further, notice how the evidence isn't cited to their original sources on the blog. Further, notice how it causes 1.6 million accidents, then 33,000 accidents, then 25% of accidents, jumping erratically. This is because the numbers are nothing more than made up scaremongering. The source itself only has two links on: both of which discuss the conspiracy theory behind covering up the data. The evidence itself is illogical and frankly unbelievable. Sources indicate less than 2.5% of accidents are caused by "distractions in vehicles" (so using a phone and other things)[2]

Hands-free cell phones

I thought I'd just say this as well: part of my opponent's argument is giving out free hands-free cell phones. They are just as, if not more, dangerous[1].

Does making it illegal work?

My opponent had to show two things to prove his case. He had to show that phones were dangerous and that a ban would work. However, dozens of studies all point to how a ban would fail[3][4]. So why should it be illegal, when texting bans would "make things more dangerous[3]?

"

The research by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) builds upon similar results the organization offered in January regarding bans that address general cell-phone use while driving. HLDI president Adrian Lund was to present his organization’s findings at today’s gathering of the Governors Highway Safety Association in Kansas City.

"Texting bans haven't reduced crashes at all. In a perverse twist, crashes increased in 3 of the 4 states we studied after bans were enacted. It's an indication that texting bans might even increase the risk of texting for drivers who continue to do so despite the laws," says Lund."

So a ban on texting while driving would make things worse, not better. My opponent has not provided adequate sourcing to defend his arguments. Further, he does not state how this translates into a ban being justified. With this into account, I urge a vote CON.



1 - http://www.digitaltrends.com...
2 - http://www.telegraph.co.uk...
3 - http://www.networkworld.com...
4 - http://www.pcworld.com...
Debate Round No. 1
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by CriticalThinkingMachine 5 years ago
CriticalThinkingMachine
Minor Points About Con's Sources or His Coherency.

In making his actual points, Con perfectly understands the topic of the debate, so it surprising that he falsely introduces things. This also makes his post sound incoherent. For example, at the very start he says that texting by itself is not inherently dangerous. That's interesting, but Pro's resolution was not that texting by itself is inherently dangerous, so it is irrelevant. Later, Con says that that Pro had to prove two things: that phones were dangerous and that a ban would work. This is ridiculous. Pro's resolution was not that phones are dangerous or should be banned, but that texting while driving is dangerous and should be banned.

Jared Newman, the author of the article for Con's last source, titles his article "Bans on Texting While Driving Don't Work: No Surprise!" Surprisingly, he does not explain why he thinks that this finding is not surprising, or why he thinks a study showing that bans on texting while driving do work would be surprising.

At the end of the article, Newman says that MyFord Touch gives "…drivers an easy way to communicate and use their phones without taking their eyes or hands off the road." Hmm, everybody I know drives with their hands on the WHEEL, not the road, but I guess I shouldn't generalize. Though driving with you hands on the road sounds even more dangerous than texting while driving!
Posted by CriticalThinkingMachine 5 years ago
CriticalThinkingMachine
...continuation of voting decision:

It seems that the most likely reason why bans on texting while driving could increase the chance of car accidents is because of texters trying to CONCEAL their activity from the law (this is mentioned in one of Con's sources) If this is so, then the bans themselves have no inherent way of increasing the chance of accidents. It is only when they are coupled with texting plus the concealment of texting that the risk of accidents increase. Again, the source of the problem is texting, not bans against texting.

The author of the second report that Con sites for this also says that hands-free technology is the answer, which contradicts one of the sources that Con cited as saying that hands-free technology is just as dangerous as texting while driving and instead supports Pro. Clearly Con did not even carefully read his own sources.

So I cannot vote for either debater because they each used poor sources. I must call this debate a tie.
Posted by CriticalThinkingMachine 5 years ago
CriticalThinkingMachine
This is the first debate I have voted on. I was interested in this debate because my mother's car was hit by a girl who was texting while driving.

Despite my interest, I disliked this debate for two reasons. The first reason is that it was only one round. It was too short and this did not allow Pro to respond to Con's arguments or Con to respond to other arguments Pro could have advanced in response to Con's arguments for round one. The second reason is that neither debater relied on logic. Instead they each relied on unreliable sources.

Con gave reason to doubt that Pro's sources were reliable. Each of the other voters acknowledges this. However it seems to have gone unnoticed by all the voters except me that Con's sources were also unreliable or contradictory.

Con says that hands-free cell phones are just as dangerous, if not more dangerous, than texting while driving. The study he cites for this agrees with him but also says that texting while driving further increases the chance of getting into an accident and that texting bans should be more widespread. This contradicts Con's contention. I guess he didn't read it beyond the first paragraph.

Con sites one source that says that less than 2.5% of accidents are caused by distractions in vehicles, then he sites another that says that 15 to 30% of accidents are caused by distractions in vehicles. So, which is it?

Con cites a study that show that texting bans actually increase the chance of getting into an accident. He does not mention that (IN THE SAME ARTICLE) the study has been denounced as "completely misleading" by federal highway state officials relying on research and data that contradict the findings of HLDI. The study also ignores the fact that correlations do not entail causations. Neither Con nor the study nor the article that featured the study offered any kind of reason as to HOW a ban could increase the chance of getting into an accident. Con's sources are therefore unreliable.

co
Posted by yuiru 5 years ago
yuiru
you can't both drive (maintain control of the direction and speed of a motor vehicle) while sending text messages to someone. So it would be pointless to make it illegal.
Posted by martianshark 5 years ago
martianshark
It's common sense to not text while driving. I don't think anyone would be against this.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by CriticalThinkingMachine 5 years ago
CriticalThinkingMachine
jj43zzStephen_HawkinsTied
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Total points awarded:00 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments
Vote Placed by adontimasu 5 years ago
adontimasu
jj43zzStephen_HawkinsTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct and grammar and spelling are tied, as neither was particularly uncivil or grammatically incorrect in their arguments. Con provided adequate reason to cast down on Pro's one and only source, as well as providing many reliable sources that proved Pro's source incorrect. Pro did not fulfill his burden of proof, in that he did not justify a ban on texting while driving, while Con sufficiently proved why laws banning it (just like all prohibitions) would not work and actually worsen things.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 5 years ago
16kadams
jj43zzStephen_HawkinsTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pros point: protect our citizens! Cons point: These bans do he opposite...
Vote Placed by RyuuKyuzo 5 years ago
RyuuKyuzo
jj43zzStephen_HawkinsTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Sorry Pro, but if you want to win a 1 round debate, you must pre-emptively deal with possible counter arguments, less your opponent stand uncontested which is precisely what happened. While there's room for debate in Con's arguments, since the debate is over and both Pro's arguments and source has been discredited I have no choice but to give the win to Con.