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2016 Scholarship Essay Finalist, Nyjeeiah Mahal Ganan

By Stewart J. Guss on March 21st, 2016

By: Nyjeeiah Mahal Ganan

Essay Subject: What law would you change or introduce to reduce car accidents?

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     Let’s admit it… We all have texted while driving, or taken a call while driving, or just have been distracted on our phone while driving behind the wheel. Have we ever really stopped to the consider the possible danger we are provoking on the drivers and pedestrians around us? The National Safety Council reports that cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes a year. 1 out of every 4 car accidents in the United States is caused by texting and driving. It is proven that driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37%, and more than 3,000 teens die each year from crashes caused by texting while driving. At any given moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving. Another baffling statistic I fell upon was that texting while driving is six times more likely to cause an accident than driving while drunk. These statistics need to be lowered, and change needs to happen to protect ourselves. Current laws are not stopping individuals from utilizing their cell phones, so new laws need to be intact to prevent further tragedies. A law I would introduce to reduce car accidents is for mandating car companies selling in the United States to install Bluetooth systems within their cars, enabling specific pairing between the phone and car which would ultimately lead to brief disable of the phone until the car is stopped and switched to park or entirely turned off.
     Today, many modern cars have Bluetooth systems within their dashboards allowing phones to pair with the car sound system to play music, take phone calls, read text messages, and etc. As technology advances, car companies are finding new ways to provides drivers with convenience. The law I propose, forces drivers to stay off their phones and focus on the road. A question you may be wondering is, how will we implement the Bluetooth disable system into cars that drivers are currently using? An idea I have is for the federal government to provide funded mandates to the states, forcing them to provide restricted money to drivers allowing drivers to get their Bluetooth systems installed to their car. To check if the system is installed and working properly, DMV employees will check the system every year during vehicle registration. Systems can be as small as an air conditioner vent, and easily applied to the wiring of the radio. Another question you may have is, what if there is an emergency and I need to answer a text or call while I am driving? The simple process of pulling over the car and putting it in park will transmit wave frequencies from the car to the phone allowing access to the phone to compensate for the emergency. Car companies will have the leisure of the installing systems where phone calls can be answered by the touch of a button on the steering wheel, and text messages can be read aloud within the speakers of the car also by a simple button on the steering wheel. Many people also use their phones to play music, but you may ponder how people are going to have access to their phones to play the music. As the Bluetooth system has paired the phone with the car, the entire library of music will be of use on the dashboard/control screen and able to control within buttons on the steering wheel or controls within the radio system. Another common feature within our devices that we utilize while driving is obtaining GPS directions from our applications. As my law takes away the notion of handling the device while driving, drivers will still have the ability to navigate with the GPS as the application will still be playing through the speakers of the car as the phone is paired and partially disabled.
     To thoroughly understand how the Bluetooth disable feature will halt drivers from using their phones, we have to break down the technological aspect of my proposal. Bluetooth technology is a wireless alternative to data cables by exchanging data using radio transmissions, it is a standard for the short-range wireless interconnection of cellular phones, computers, and other electronic devices. As the car starts, radio frequencies from the Bluetooth hardware will transmit wave transmissions from the car to the device automatically pairing without the consent of the driver. The driver will have the pleasure of relying on the car to pair the device. As the pairing is complete, the driver will have the ability to shift the car into the desired gear and proceed on with their day. The vehicle will be restricted from moving until a device is paired with the car as consistent noises and alerts as well as a systematic lock on the gear stick will prevent drivers from driving. If a driver does not own a device, the car would have already detected no presence of a phone as the Bluetooth and cellular frequencies would be absent within the car.
     My proposal is the first step to reducing distracted drivers, and lowering tragic, easily avoidable accidents. It’s evident within our society that we have trouble battling temptations to answer phone calls, respond to text messages, and handle other tasks within our devices. My law provides a foundation for a technological advancement within cars that can revolutionize the auto industry by providing drivers with reassurance in safety. Families who have lost loved ones from distracted driver accidents will obtain a peace of mind as they can continue in life knowing initiatives have been taken to end this reoccurring issue.

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