US Government Studies The Effects
Of Cell Phone Use While Driving
Everywhere you go you are likely to see someone talking on a cell phone. You might even see someone on their cell phone as they drive. Recent studies conducted by the US government and other agencies have studied the effects of cell phone use while driving. Driving while talking on cell phone equipment can be quite convenient and it can save time, but using a cell phone while driving can produce a number of hazards as well.
As reported by the US Department of Transportation, cell phone usage while driving is included as one of the contributors to accidents due to inattentive driving as well as eating, talking, and applying makeup. With over 190 million people using a cell phone, phone safety while driving is unquestionably an issue.
There are two ways that using a cell phone can contribute to the dangers of cell phone use while driving. In order to dial a cell phone, you have to take your eyes off of the road. After you dial, you can become so engrossed in conversation that your focus is no longer on driving and the safety of everyone in the car and on the road is put at risk.
New York was the first state to prohibit hand-held cell phone usage while driving. Cell phone driving can only be done while wearing a headset for hands-free operations. Although the idea behind hands-free cell phone usage while driving is to improve safety, there is growing evidence that even if you drive with a headset the dangers of using a cell phone at all while driving are not eliminated.
In July of 2005, results from a study of drivers in Perth, Australia conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety were published. The outcome indicated that if you use a cell phone while driving, you are four times more likely to have a serious accident. The study also declared that using a hands-free phone or device didn’t improve driving safety.
A government study issued during June of 2005 showed that cell phone driving was by far more likely to result in an accident than any other distraction presented to drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute tailed 100 cars for a full year before discovering that those talking on cell phones including those with a hands-free car kit brought about more crashes and near crashes.
The results of these findings in 2005 seem to negate previous findings reported by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety in 2003. That report claimed that those who used cell phones while driving were more likely to reach their destination safely while drivers distracted by other things were more likely to have an accident.
As a result of these findings, several state legislatures are taking a closer look at bills that would restrict using cell phones while driving. Four states have already prohibited young drivers from using cell phones while driving. In addition to new laws regarding the use of cell phones while driving, federal and state safety officials are asking police to observe whether or not a driver was distracted by a cell phone or other source that could have caused an accident. People who support banning talking on a cell phone while driving truly believe that cell phones are a greater distraction than anything else when driving. People who oppose restricting phone use insist that the key to improved cell phone driving is education.