Effects of Using Cell Phones While Driving
Mobile phones are vital tools for human beings but can also be hazardous especially to drivers. This is because driving requires full concentration on the road. Mobile phones tend to distract the driver thus posing a hazard for him and other road users. Use of mobile phones while driving causes fatal automobile accidents most times. Drivers who use their phones while driving are four times at risk of crashing than attentive drivers. Many countries have passed a law that drivers should use hands free devices to answer phone calls while driving. Some have totally banned its use during the journey. The use of mobile phones is prohibited because it leads to accidents, physical and mental distraction and traffic jams (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, 2011).
Receiving phone calls, replying to text messages and surfing the Internet while driving reduces the driver’s concentration. The conversation held on the phone could cause mental distraction of the driver in case the news is disturbing or too exciting. A text message of the same nature could also cause mental uneasiness to the driver causing him to lose concentration. When a driver glances at the phone while replying to text messages or identifying the caller, he suffers mental and physical distraction. Looking up information on the internet or communicating with friends via social networks while driving is also distracting to the driver.
Accidents occur due to loss of concentration when one receives a call or text message while driving. The driver gets distracted and fails to see any oncoming traffic or obstacles ahead causing crashes since he is looking at the phone. The reaction time for brakes reduces while on the phone thus one cannot evade or escape danger. Driving while responding to text messages makes one wander from their driving lane since it consumes about five seconds of the driver’s concentration. In addition, the driver may miss taking note of essential road signs such as pedestrians crossing or cyclists on the road, and may hit them accidentally (Drews, Siegel, & Strayer, 2011).
However, use of mobile phones while driving has its benefits, as well. It is essential to have a mobile phone in the car for security reasons since one can utilize it to call for help while in danger. Moreover, in case one’s car breaks down, the driver could call for help using the mobile phone. The phone also enables the driver to answer to emergencies especially when he has travelled for long journeys. One is also able to finish work while away from office by making a phone call and issuing instructions. However, this requires discipline to resist the temptation to answer the call while driving to avoid accidents.
There are certain controversies raised concerning this issue. Some people argue that one can use hands-free gadgets such as headphones or speakerphones to attend to calls. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration points out that a driver’s performance on the road is downgraded by the slightest distraction. Distraction is brought about by the use of both handheld and hands-free phones. This is because the driver loses vital audio and visual cues necessary for crash avoidance when talking on either device.
It is always safe to be cautious than regret later. Despite the merits of having a cell phone while driving, drivers should know that attending to it while driving has fatal consequences and should be avoided at all cost. The government should outlaw and implement stern measures on drivers found talking on the phone while driving. Heavy penalties and fines should be imposed on such drivers, and banned to drive for some time and even made to re-test on driving to refresh on the driving rules and regulations (Driving and Mobile Phones: A Dangerous Mix, 2012).
Drews, F., Siegel, L., & Strayer. (2011). Drivers On Cell Phones Are As Bad As Drunks. Retrieved on April 16, 2013 from
Driving and Mobile Phones: A Dangerous Mix. (2012). State Government of Victoria. Retrieved on April 16, 2013 from >http://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/Home/SafetyAndRules/SafetyIssues/MobilePhonesAndDriving.htm<
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. (2011). The Risk of Using a Mobile Phone While Driving. Retrieved on April 16, 2013 from >http://www.rospa.com/roadsafety/info/mobile_phone_report.pdf<