, Research Paper
Do Cell Phones Cause More Vehicle Accidents?
The cellular phone, while not being directly related to automotive travel, has become one of the most popular and life-threatening innovations. The number of cellular phone users has grown to one hundred million in the United States. There are two categories of cell-phone purposes. The first category, which is least popular, is called only for emergencies. Cellular phones used in this category are simply reliable sources of communication. Some emergencies might include: a broken-down car, stranded family or friends, and calls regarding directions. The second category of cell-phone purposes is called the attention thief. Which is the leading cause of car accidents and in almost all cases, death. The cellular phones used in this category consist of long personal conversations that steal the drivers attention away from the road, other drivers, and pedestrians. Driving while talking on a cellular phone negatively effects a person s ability to drive, and increases the risk of anyone else on the road.
There have been many cases that prove cellular phones interfere with the ability to control an automobile. One case, which ended in the death of a young boy who was hit by a driver using a cellular phone, led me to the assumptions that cellular phones decreased drivers response time and phone conversations created a distraction for drivers. Driving while talking on a cellular phone obviously negatively effects a person s ability to drive, and increases the risk of anyone else on the road. Performing these two tasks simultaneously increases the risk of having an accident four times. Dividing our attention between two tasks decreases our performance in both of them. Driving an automobile is more than pressing the gas pedal and steering the wheel. If driving attention is affected at all, there s a chance of misjudgment; which can be dangerous behind the wheel. Drivers using cellular phones aren t fully aware of their surroundings. They are putting themselves as well as others at risk.
Researchers have found several statistics dealing with those who use cellular phones while driving that are very alarming. People are four to five times more likely to have an accident while using a cellular phone than those people who do not, and they are also more likely to be the striking vehicle in the accident. Some studies have even gone as far to say that driving while using a cell phone has about the same effect on the driver s accident risk as driving while drunk. That can be a scary thought considering the number of people who use cellular phones in their car everyday. The most distracting part of using a cellular phone while driving is looking at the phone to dial the number and looking at the road to avoid crashing. Some people might call looking at the road and a cell-phone simultaneously difficult or even impossible. Although there are solutions for these common occurrences, such as hands-free kits and speed dial to decrease the time used dialing; these aides don t necessarily increase the drivers alertness to the road. Hands-free car kits are a better bet safety-wise, but they are not the full answer.
Drivers who take a chance and talk on the phone for long periods of time are subject to mood changes. Moods and attitudes significantly affect driving ability. If a driver is having a pleasant conversation their attitude towards other drivers is less likely to be aggressive. On the other hand, if a driver is having an upsetting conversation, an argument, their attitude is more likely to change to aggressiveness and carelessness. In my experience with driving and having phone conversations my attitude towards other drivers depends on the mood I get from the conversation. For an example my boy-friend and I are having a disagreement. Even if I hang-up the phone the disagreement usually dictates my tolerance level for other drivers. Another example is if you were to receive news while driving that someone close to you had been involved in an accident and taken to the hospital, your concentration would naturally fly out the window possibly causing another accident.
There is no doubt that the use of hand-held cell phones in cars is dangerous and can contribute noticeably to this already very high accident rate. Clearly there are some dangers in using cell-phones while driving a car. Traffic records are stuffed with incidents involving people losing control of their car while operating a phone. Motorists should use discretion in dialing up a cell phone. Common sense would seem to dictate that using a phone in heavy traffic is risky.
There are many reasons I am so strongly against the use of cellular phones while driving. The most compelling reasons are the innocent by-standers who become victims because of careless drivers and the many lives lost due to phone conversations. Is it ever going to stop?