Face it, there are many benefits to having a cellphone. It can serve as your primary phone. It is handy to have with you when you are out. You can use it to make emergency calls. It even helps you keep track of your children. But unfortunately, using a cellphone at the wrong time can also kill you.
Over the past ten years, no less than 160 scientific studies and reviews have been done around the world that point to the dangers of cellphone use while driving. Those who use cellphones while driving are four to six times more likely to be involved in motor vehicle collisions. This is true whether the driver uses a hand-held or hands-free cellphone. Problems with drivers using cellphones become more pronounced as traffic density increases.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has issued a warning that younger female drivers are even more at risk. They are more likely to hold cellphone conversations while driving than young men.
Interestingly, a study reported that pedestrians using cellphones are more at risk of being hit by a vehicle. Clearly, talking on a cellphone is a significant distraction.
Driving and talking on a cellphone increases the risk of a rear-end collision. Drivers are more likely to be in a collision while attempting to turn left and also to run red lights. A driver using a cellphone also takes much more time to react to the unexpected, like a child darting into the street.
Using a cellphone while driving can be compared to driving after having several alcoholic drinks. Whether the driver is young or old, cellphone use carries the same risks. It is more difficult to pay attention to and react to everything on the road.
Is there a difference between conversing with a passenger and talking on a cellphone? Any conversation can be distracting. However, passengers naturally adjust the conversation according to traffic flow, weather and the complexity of the motoring environment. The person at the other end of a cellphone call cannot do so. It is the cellphone conversation that is the distraction and the danger.
So, what can you do about this issue? It is simple. Do not use your cellphone while you drive. Turn off your cellphone before getting into the vehicle. If it rings, the natural tendency is to answer it or at least look at the call display. Both actions are distracting and dangerous. If your cellphone is off, you will not be tempted to answer the ring. Moving quickly to the side of the road to take a call can also be dangerous. Use voice mail instead. If you want to check messages and return calls, move off the road and find a safe place to park.
If you have young drivers in your family, make sure they understand the dangers of driving while talking on a cellphone. Text messaging can be just as dangerous, if not more so. Set a firm family rule that no one may use electronic hand-held devices or any type of cellphone while driving.
Talk about this issue with your family, friends and colleagues. Injuries related to driving while talking on cellphones are completely preventable. Let’s do something about it!
Those who use cellphones while driving also face a legal risk. If a collision occurs, cellphone records and event data recorders from their vehicles can be subpoenaed to show that they were talking at the time of the collision. This can present a strong case of driver negligence. In the United States, lawsuits have been successfully brought against companies whose employees were in serious incidents while driving and using cellphones. Settlements have been in the tens of millions of dollars.
Driving is extremely complex. All drivers need to pay full attention to prevent collisions, injuries and devastating losses. What cellphone call is worth a life?
Visit www.cellphonefreedriving.ca for more information about cellphone use while driving, This website is operated by the Coalition for Cellphone-Free Driving, a group of organizations and companies committed to making our roads safer by reducing cellphone use while driving.
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