Cell Phones and the Balance Between Convenience and Safety.
The increased popularity of cell phones in the recent years has done so much to make our everyday lives easier and more efficient. While in the past it seemed automatic pagers were a staple in our society, Americans especially teenagers have moved from the beeper to the cell phone in just a few short years. But this innovation has not come without a price. Much too often there have been automobile accidents due to reckless driving resultant from irresponsible use of the phone while on the road. But at the same time, cell phones have connected us to each other and made everyone and everything-friends, family, even the Internet just a phone call away. The question arises as to what a society is to do: give up its personal freedom or risk safety for a little more convenience.
There have been efforts in recent years to ban cell phones from being used while driving, a response to the increased number of automobile accidents. This in itself is a well-meaning policy but with seriously flawed tactics. It makes no sense, for one, to punish the entire population for the actions of irresponsible few. This same mentality is used to justify gun control and effectively takes freedom away from those who never abused it in the first place. If an individual is not driving recklessly while using the phone, there is no justification for the government to violate the person's privacy and hence freedom to use the phone.
And herein lies the answer to the question of how best to balance personal freedom with public safety. Teenagers, who compromise a large segment of the cell phone consumer market, are inexperienced drivers with a high accident rate even without the cell phone factor. Thus using a phone while driving only magnifies the risk that one will have an accident. But only when it can be shown that someone's use of the cell phone constitutes a hazardous driving condition should action taken.