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Saturday, August 04, 2007

Thoughts on Cell Phones and Driving

Is it just me or does it seem that more and more people are talking on the phone while driving lately? I’m one of those people that is not a huge fan of cell phones to begin with but I am guilty of having one. I’m also guilty of chatting on the phone while driving but I tend to try and keep the conversations short and to the point.

Just a few examples of driver behavior with the cell phone planted to their ear that I have witnessed; there was the woman doing ten miles per hour below the speed limit that put her directional on to turn left but turned right instead. There was the gentleman having a very graphic arm flailing conversation at the stop light that waited till the eventual green light turned yellow to punch the gas leaving the rest of us in line with yet another red light. Then there was the gentleman turning into a clearly marked “DO NOT ENTER” exit jacking on his brakes at the last possible second blocking vehicles coming out and traffic passing by.

All of the above examples I was lucky enough to be of witness to just yesterday. For the record it could be heard in my car someone shouting at the offenders “Get off the damn phone”.

So today I decided to look for some information on driving and cell phones and I think I hit the jackpot to make my point. My point being, if you have to use your cell phone while driving then please pull over and stop your car. Have your conversation and continue driving the two ton bullet when you are done talking.

Forbes has a great piece on the comparison of drunk driving and cell phone use while driving…

Maneuvering through traffic while talking on the phone increases the likelihood of an accident five-fold and is actually more dangerous than driving drunk, U.S. researchers report.

That finding held true whether the driver was holding a cell phone or using a hands-free device, the researchers noted.

"As a society, we have agreed on not tolerating the risk associated with drunk driving," said researcher Frank Drews, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Utah. "This study shows us that somebody who is conversing on a cell phone is exposing him or herself and others to a similar risk -- cell phones actually are a higher risk," he said.


The reason that there aren't more accidents linked to cell phone use is probably due to the reactions of other -- more alert -- drivers, Drews said. "Currently, our system seems to be able to handle 8 percent of cell-phone drivers, because other drivers are paying attention," he said. "They are compensating for the errors these drivers are causing," he speculated.

This is a growing public health problem, Drews said. As more people are talking and driving, the accident rate will go up, he said.

One other thought on cell phone use and driving has me wondering how much road rage is directly linked to this issue?


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yah, and though it seems that teens are the only ones called out on this deadly habit, adults are just as bad. I used to get angry about women putting makeup on while driving, but this is far worse. At least a mirror, even when used to focus on lipstick, offers some view of the road. A cell phone, if it survives a crash, is only helpful after the fact.

Doesn't everyone know that one of the reasons for having kids is so that they can make your calls while you keep your hands on the wheel?? ;) Road rage? Cell phones bring on plenty of rage in all public settings where they are misused.

11:35 AM  
Blogger Papamoka said...

I think the adults are worse when it comes to driving and being on the phone. Far too many people think a vehicle is just another apendage. It isn't! Same thing goes for the phone.

Thanks for dropping in Chell. I appreciate your thoughts. Tell your friends about us. Please don't tell them about the UFO landing strip though...

9:30 PM  

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