The existence of cellular phones has allowed people to gain a sense of connectivity that has never before been seen in the history of communication. It has removed the barriers of remote work connectivity issues while allowing people the freedom to go on with their daily lives. However, due to the increasingly sophisticated system features of cellular phones, we now face the problem of usage safety for the public that tends to ignore, or not realize that there are potential dangers involved with cellular phone use. This danger is even more evident and worrisome due to the hands-free or blue tooth connectivity of using cellular phones while driving.
Let us acknowledge the fact that there are lines of work, such as sales, that require a person to be out of the office for a longer period of time and does not allow that person enough time to attend to work delegation, paperwork, and meetings. These work problems scenarios are easily solved by the use of a cellular phone while on the road. Meetings, consultations, work delegation, and other jobs which usually need to be done in person at the office can now be done while the person drives from one destination to another.
The hands-free operation of these phones is supposed to provide an area of safety for the driver / cellular phone user while in the moving vehicle because his hands are free to stay on the steering wheel and drive. However, the attention the driver pays to the events around him, and his concentration on the road conditions are hampered by the multi-tasking required to drive while making business decisions at the same time. No matter how easy it has become to use a cellphone while driving, the truth remains that undivided concentration and attention are key to the road and driving safety. That is something severely hampered in the cellular phone using drivers.
Consider the following information, a study conducted in Perth, Australia in 2007 by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicated that drivers who use cellular phones while driving are 4 times more likely to get into a car crash than a driver who is say, listening to the car radio. Granted, these survey results were based upon handheld cell phone use while driving, but, would not be resolved by simply using a hands-free cellular phone.
Other studies also suggest that 80% of accidents and 65 % of near-accidents can be traced to the inattention of the driver who was using a cellular phone at the time of the accident. (Editorial, Eerie Times. 2007) The reason behind this danger is that a driver talking on the phone tends to have a narrower focus as he tries to make himself heard, keep his connection/signal active, and handle the steering wheel and driver’s navigation panel all at the same time.
Those who believe that cell phone usage while driving is not really a problem try to make us believe that the incidents are small compared to other driving-related accidents. Accident rates aside, the reality is that there is absolutely no reason to be talking on the phone and driving at the same time. Just as one can choose to not be an irresponsible driver by getting behind the wheel drunk, one also has the option to pull over to the side of the road, concentrate on the conversation and then get back on the road with your attention solely focused on getting safely to your destination.
In the end, we have to remember that people did not want to use seatbelts either in the past. But after it was proven that wearing the seatbelt saved lives over the years, people became more receptive to it and now everybody wears a seatbelt. It is my hope that the same thing will happen in the case of people using their cell phones responsibly as they drive in the future.
Claer, Jennifer. (2007). Why cell phone use while driving should be banned. Associated Content. Web.
Crosain, Caitlin. (2005). Driving and cellphones – should cellular phones be banned while driving?. ezine articles. Web.
Editorials. (2007). Using cellphones while driving should be banned. Eerie Times News. Web.