A number of traffic accidents are related to driving while distracted, including the use of mobile phones, and yet, many people keep checking their phones on the road. According to Naoki Matsumoto, a senior car blogger at Car From Japan, one study shows people are at 23% more risk of causing an accident if they are distracted. One of the surveys done by AT&T in 2015 shows 7 in 10 people use smartphones while they are driving, and interestingly, 98% of them answered they were aware of the danger. According to the National Police Agency in Japan, the number of car accidents caused by using cellphones while driving has been increasing since 2011. (Sorry, the data is in Japanese)
So why do people use their cellphones while they are driving?
The simple answer is that they are addicted to it, so they just need to use their cellphones no matter what they are doing.
In Japan, you see many people using their cellphones while they are walking, driving, riding a bicycle, waiting for something/someone, on a train, … I mean everywhere!
And this is what happened in my city a few days ago.
Student who was using smartphone while riding bike indicted for hitting, killing pedestrian
A 19-year-old male college student has been sent to prosecutors on a charge of involuntary manslaughter after he fatally hit a pedestrian with his mountain bike.
The incident occurred just before 9 p.m. on June 25 in Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture, Fuji TV reported. Chosei Matsuda, 62, was walking along a sidewalk when he was hit from the front by the student riding his bike without its light on. The student was also using his smartphone to listen to music through earphones.
(from Japan Today)
I think this is just the tip of the iceberg because I see this everywhere in Japan! I believe we have many more accidents related to using smartphones while riding a bike, but they are just not reported by the press. In terms of driving, I have seen many parents driving and texting while their children were in the backseat. I don’t know what they are thinking!
How about in America? It is worse because some states in America do not strictly prohibit the use of cellphones. (Check this website for further information.)
I wonder why all states in America don’t prohibit texting and driving. I think it is worse than Japan!
As I was looking for the answer, I found this article.
It was written by an attorney in Alabama, and it says a study released from Australia in 2012 shows having children in the backseat can be 12 times more distracting than having a conversation on the cell phone. It is interesting, but this cannot be the reason why they don’t prohibit texting while driving because it is “talking on the phone while driving” and not “texting while driving.” (And Alabama prohibits all drivers from texting.)
So let’s go back to the original quesiton: What is the reason that some states in America don’t prohibit texting and driving? Can anyone tell me the answer? I want to know if it is applicable to Japan. (I don’t want to see any texting while driving in Japan.)