A survey was employed (as a data collection method) of 35 people, regarding the topic of prohibition of texting while driving. The survey contained seven questions, they were: (1) Are you aware that texting while driving is currently illegal in Utah? (2) Do you know that recent research indicates a person is 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident if he/ she uses Short Message Service (SMS) text while behind the wheel? (3) Have you been cited by law enforcement for texting or distracted driving? (4) What do you think about Utah’s laws prohibiting drivers from texting? (5) Do you know what the primary offence is? (6) Do you feel that branding of texting while driving as a “primary offence” was the right decision? (7) Do you agree that Utah’s law about prohibition of texting while driving is unconstitutional and violates the right that guarantees the free speech? The survey respondents who provided primary data were male and female college students.
Summary of Findings
Once the collected data was analyzed, it indicated that the majority of college students (29 out of 35) consider that Utah’s law prohibiting drivers from using the phone for texting will save lives. In response to the first question, 26 respondents were aware that texting while driving became illegal in Utah? In response to the second question, only two people knew that a person is 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident while texting behind the wheel, but 30 people agreed that texting poses danger to both drivers and pedestrians. In response to the third question, nobody admitted being cited by law enforcement for texting or distracted driving. In response to the fourth question, vast majority of respondents, which is 29, viewed the law as positive and such that will make state’s streets and highways safer and save lives. Next, only 19 people knew what the primary offence is. When explained what the primary offence is, 28 people agreed that branding of texting while driving as a “primary offence” was the right decision. Lastly, six respondents felt that Utah’s law about prohibition of texting while driving is unconstitutional and violates the right that guarantees individual’s freedom.
Besides answering questions, 14 of surveyed people shared personal stories and real life examples that took place with them, their friends or relatives that showed how simultaneous driving and talking/ texting simultaneously is dangerous. Interviewees pointed that human lives are at stake when a driver is distracted by the phone. It appeared that 14 people knew or heard about traffic accidents that happened during texting while driving. 12 people think that it is just plain common sense to refrain from texting while driving. They hoped that other states will follow Utah’s sample and make texting while driving illegal. Nevertheless, six of the surveyed college students agreed that Utah’s law may be unconstitutional and such that violates the right that guarantees the free speech. Two male respondents insisted that the law was violating the constitutional right of free speech. They argued that American Constitution guarantees the right to free speech to everyone, regardless of circumstances, and that includes texting whenever and wherever one wants. Therefore, they believe that some court will eventually overturn the law and intended to ignore it.
Findings of the survey can be generalized into the conclusion that over 80% of college students approve of the legislation about banning texting while driving. They believe that this new law will help to save people’s lives and make roads safer for both drivers and pedestrians. Results of a survey can be generalized to a larger population of college students (Anderson, 2006).
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