It’s past time for debate on the foibles of cell phone use while driving. It’s crazy dangerous. Period. Yet he argued this with one mobile gabber as a passenger, as she swerved about while describing her day on-air. He thought she’d expel him. But she drove so poorly that walking seemed preferable. So he spoke anyway. Just like tobacco and alcohol, this debate will rage for decades beyond when science resolves it.
Driving While Using Cell Phones Dangers
Just try being a passenger sometime in a car where the driver is gabbing it up on their wireless phone. Studies aside for a moment: After seeing many people driving while chatting or texting on cell phones, it’s clear that driving is indeed impaired; particularly when the conversation is hot in some way. Like when a couple argues over the phone or when they deal with an emergency.
Now, back to the studies: Actually, many large-scale sightings and epidemiological numbers crunching say this. When a person uses a cell phone while driving a vehicle, they are more apt to have an accident than a drunk driver. These works have been cited often on CNN, Dr. Phil, NBC’s Nightly News, and so on.
Also, remember that lots of studies have also concluded that there’s no correlation between cigarette smoking and lung cancer either. Unfortunately, it’s much harder these days for evolutionary forces to weed out idiocy from the species. But we can only hope that natural selection will do it. 🙂
What the Studies Say about the Dangers of Driving While Using Cell Phones
Studies imply that even hands-free operation of cell phones impairs safe driving ability. While voice-actuated, eye-free operation is safer than traditional phone-in-the-hand-with-button-pressing mode, cell phones still present many opportunities for distraction, like the following
- While merging or exiting interstate highways.
- Driving around the barrels in construction zones.
- Avoiding black ice and pot holes.
- Steering through wind gusts.
- Driving through heavy rain or snow storms with the windshield wipers flapping and the raindrops distorting the view.
Since one or more of these adverse conditions can arise at any time without warning, drivers must focus on the road. Worry about driving, not that cell phone conversation.
More Distracting to Talk on a Cell Phone than to a Passenger
Talking to someone on a cell phone differs from conversing with a passenger in that the person on the other end cannot tell when dynamic traffic conditions indicate that he should be silent. The driver must tell him, and this is just one more responsibility to tax the driver’s attention and slow his responses to the rapidly-changing road conditions mentioned above. The phone buddy keeps gabbing even though traffic signs may appear that the driver really should read and understand. Drivers tend to not perceive such info bits when absorbed in conversation on the phone.
Conversations with passengers are safer than those with folks on the cell phone, also. Why? Because the passenger can observe the driver’s body language. He can also see the road conditions to the same degree that the driver does. So, when a situation occurs, the driver need not tell the passenger to be quiet. But he often does have to tell the person on the cell phone. Why? Because the caller does not see the road conditions unfolding in real time. Thus he often distracts the driver with his banter.
Harder to Attend Cell Phone Conversations
Also, a passenger’s voice demands less of the driver’s brain power to comprehend than a voice on a cell phone. The audio in cell calls is often more muffled. So it is harder to understand than a voice on a radio, or a passenger’s voice.
Additionally, intermittent cell signals often cause some words to be lost. There’s a lot of,
- What did you say?
- I can’t hear you!
with cell phones. This often causes the driver to direct his attention away from the road. Thus even a hands-free cell phone conversation demands much more mental overhead than a chat with a passenger. So, this pits the driver as well as his passengers in greater jeopardy. Indeed, cell phone technology is not mature enough to be considered safe to use while driving.
All Distractions Pose Dangers
Yes, drivers are responsible for ignoring many distractions. So why add to that already large list by talking on a cell phone while driving? Indeed, the with freedom comes responsibility. But people often enjoy the freedom without actually shouldering this responsibility. Indeed, this is the case for those phone gabbers driving our roads and byways.
Ideally, a person should self-police. He ought to abstain from an action when what he’s considering is beyond his capability to do safely. She may think she knows when she’s unable to operate a car safely while chatting. And perhaps many can talk without endangering other motorists. In fact, drunk drivers invariably feel that they can safely drive a car while inebriated. But while many boast that they can, many of those also prove that they cannot. They kill another with their car while gabbing. History shows that people way overestimate their multi-tasking abilities with cell phones as well. So, they need regulated. Unfortunate but true. Indeed, if it takes a ban to do that, then that’s what we should do.
The bottom line. Anything that distracts the driver from the road enough to put others in peril is dangerous. It endangers those riding with him. Not to mention that it puts those in other vehicles nearby in peril. Driving while using cell phones is a bad thing and should be forbidden and punished severely. That includes cell phones while driving. Just ask anyone who has been injured by a cell phone wielding road warrior, and they likely feel the same. If you need to use such devices then just pull over and stay off the rode until you’re done.
For more similar discussion see our GPS Units Safer than Cell Phones piece.
References for Driving While Using Cell Phones Dangers
- 2021-09-03: Added pictures and added more tags.
- 2019-03-12: Added key phrase targeting and fixed some typos. Shortened some sentences and paragraphs as well.
- 2015-12-04: Added appropriate tags.
- 2014-12-25: Moved to the Tom’s Tek Stop blog, added whitespace, revised content, and adjusted ad placement. Revised content and moved the discussion about GPS units to the GPS Units Safer than Cell Phones post.
- 2010-08-01: Originally published in the Tom’s Views blog.