Texting ban harmful to K-State, Manhattan

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I cannot live without my cell phone. I am constantly on my phone, checking my text messages, e-mail, news, setting up meetings and talking to my family and friends. Many K-State students suffer from this addiction too.

If the city commissioners pass the second reading of an ordinance incorporating the Standard Traffic Ordinance for Kansas cities, this ordinance would ban the use of all handheld devices while operating motorized vehicles.

According to a K-State Collegian article published Oct. 21, “The commissioners differed on small points but overall agreed a traffic law limiting cell phone use while driving is a necessity in Manhattan … By the end of the discussion, the general consensus was to allow hands-free devices and two-way radio operations, ban texting while all other areas of phone use while driving was left undecided.”

I think we can all agree on the fact that texting while driving is a huge danger, both to the driver and to those around said driver. Texting distracts the driver with the actual conversation happening via text and the driver must also read the text and physically send the text — an accident waiting to happen.

According to Edgar Snyder & Associates, in 2007, driver distractions, like using a cell phone or text messaging, contributed to nearly 1,000 crashes involving 16 and 17-year-old drivers. 

A study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute further solidifies the dangers of texting while driving. “For every six seconds of drive time, a driver sending or receiving a text message spends 4.6 of those seconds with their eyes off the road. This makes texting the most distracting of all cell phone-related tasks.”

Anything beyond the ban of text messaging in this city ordinance is going too far. As it is, this ban will be bad for both K-State students and businessmen and women in the Manhattan community.

This ordinance overwhelmingly affects students and citizens between the ages of 16 and 35. Since the creation of the cell phone in 1976, the youth of our nation are in the demographic that constitutes the largest consumers and users of cell phones. It is clear that if this ordinance passes, K-State students will be more likely to be pulled over for use of their cell phones while driving than others would be.

Anyone who has been a designated driver can attest to the need for cell phones while driving around to pick everyone up. The last date party I was a designated driver for, my phone rang once every two to three minutes. If I would not have had my cell phone with me, I would not have been able to keep all my friends safe and get them home safely.

Another concern facing K-State in terms of this ordinance is the effect it is going to have on potential K-State students. This ban on cell phones is not a statewide ban, which means any potential student coming to K-State for a campus visit won’t know about the ban on cell phone usage.

If I got a ticket for talking on my cell phone the same day I went on my campus tour, I would not remember how awesome K-State is or how delicious the Call Hall ice cream is; I would be bitter and upset about that ticket.

As my illustration shows, the ban could have an adverse effect on our enrollment numbers.

This ordinance also puts a large strain on the business men, women and workers within the Manhattan Community. For them to use their time most efficiently, they use cell phones to plan meetings and conduct other business. If they are no longer able to make these necessary phone calls while on the go, then they will have to spend more time in the office to get all the things done that are necessary.

Any ban that goes beyond banning text messages is going too far and will hurt the Manhattan community.

-Molly McGuire is a sophomore in political science and speech. Please send comments to opinion@spub.ksu.edu.

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