Communication technology has advanced greatly within the past 40 years. What began as cell phones the size of bricks are now devices with the power of a computer in our hands. These technological advancements have helped to advance our society. However, with the good comes the bad. The most physically dangerous result of this technology is the rise of texting while driving.
In 2009, 5474 people were killed because of texting and driving, and more than 448,000 were injured. These figures are rising with each passing year. A texting driver is 23 times more likely to get into an accident. Texting while driving causes the driver to react slower; the amount of delay is equal to the driver having a 0.8% blood alcohol level, which is the legal limit. Forty-nine percent of people under 35 years of age have admitted to texting while driving.
Once texting while driving became a major issue, several companies, such as AT&T and AAA, began to take pledges against texting and driving. Some companies even designed applications for smart phones that would lock the phone when traveling at a certain speed. While these steps toward preventing texting while driving helped, they all have focused on stopping the cell phone from working. What if we look at it from another standpoint? What if we changed the car rather than the phone? Not changing the car exactly, but changing the transmission, from automatic to manual.
Manual transmissions have been in cars since they were first introduced. Automatics are relatively new for the automotive world. While automatics make driving easier, they also give the driver more freedom to multitask. This ability to multitask, however, is what enabled the texting while driving problem. With a manual transmission, not only are all 4 limbs moving and working, the driver is forced to focus on one thing, the act of driving. Because each limb is occupied, there is no free hand to begin to text, let alone pick up the phone.
There are several reasons why manuals are better than automatics, yet there are also reasons why they are worse. As for the positives, it keeps the driver occupied by incorporating all of their limbs. This is safer because it forces the driver to focus on driving and leaves no free hand to text. It forms a connection between you and your car, enabling you to know that the reason your car moves is because you acted upon it. However, there is a very big learning curve when driving manual, and it is this learning curve that drives people away from learning in the first place.
The current younger generation has forgotten how to put time into something. Whereas older generations know that taking your time allows you to comprehend and eventually master a task, the younger generation doesn’t understand this. To teens and young adults who have lived their lives with an “I want it now” attitude, learning manual is pointless because it is difficult to learn and even harder to master. No one wants to put time into perfecting it when they can just buy a car with automatic transmission. Sadly, this means that they also refuse to wait until they get out of the car to answer a text.
Not everyone who drives an automatic will text while driving, and not everyone with a manual refrains from it. However, driving a car with a manual transmission will at least deter most from texting while driving because they will be occupied with the act of driving. Therefore, if a parent were intent on preventing their child from texting while driving, they should persuade them to drive a manual transmission car. Not only will they be safer and more focused, they might even have fun while driving.