You can make distracted driving illegal. You can tell people to put their phones away. You can warn them that distraction causes accidents and takes lives.
As long as people still feel addicted to their phones, though, it’s going to remain a risk. People are going to break laws, take chances, ignore risks and cause accidents.
That’s just what addiction does. It’s the same problem with drunk driving. Driving under the influence is always illegal. People still do it every day. Many people who get arrested repeatedly are addicted to alcohol. When the addiction grips them, they ignore the law and they ignore safety.
It’s no different with a phone. Someone who is addicted to texting or social media is still going to take that risk.
We cannot be alone
You can argue that the issue here is really that people want to stay connected. They don’t want to be alone. Why else do they feel like they have to check every single social media notification as soon as they get it? Why do they feel like they have to read every text message instantly?
Long before the age of the smartphone, this was already a problem. Per The New Yorker, as a philosopher named Blaise Pascal put it:
“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
He was not thinking about texting and driving. He wrote that in 1654. But he still drove right to the heart of the matter. It just manifests itself a bit differently today than it did back then.
You get used to it
Some of the issue here is just habit. As one journalist noted, every time she felt a “mental pause,” she reached for her phone. A break in conversation? Check social media. A commercial on TV? Check those text messages. A moment’s break at work? See what the Internet has to offer.
While all of those situations are safe, they help to create that habit. We get used to the constant stimulation that the phone offers.
When we get behind the wheel, it’s not difficult to understand why we want to go back to that. Driving can get boring. How long is this road trip? How many times do you drive the same exact road to work? How long is that red light? There are plenty of mental pauses, and it’s an instinct to reach for the phone, seeking out a distraction.
Accidents and injuries
Of course, this addiction or habit — however you want to look at it — puts people in serious danger. Those who suffer injuries in accidents with distracted drivers must know how to seek out financial compensation for medical bills and more in New Jersey.