Driver distraction is one of the primary dangers connected to driving. Talking on a mobile phone is categorized as a driver distraction, and the results of several studies have demonstrated cellphones to be highly disruptive to the concentration abilities of individuals when driving.
Using cellphones while operating a motor vehicle entails both physical and mind interruption. It impairs the ability to keep both eyes and hands focused on the road and, as a result, this type of distraction can lead to a tragic accident. The dangers of talking on the phone while driving are very real.
If you consider the sense stimulation it takes to answer a phone and dial a phone (and even more distracting is engaging in texting), these findings make sense. When taking these factors into consideration, it is easy to see how these all take away from concentration when people attempt to talk on the phone while driving. If you add the actual conversation to the mix, it further detracts the brain from concentration.
Various studies conducted at the University of Utah drew some interesting conclusions. In the university’s 2001 study, it was concluded that hands-free cellphones were as equally as distracting as handheld mobiles. Continued studies in 2003 showed this equal level of distraction was attributed to “inattention blindness.”
What inattention blindness means is motor vehicle operators are looking at the road and its conditions but don’t really see what is in front of them because their minds are distracted by the conversation taking place on the cellphone
If the findings of studies are not sobering enough, consider these distracted driving facts:
In the United States, over 9 people are killed daily due to distracted driving; more than 1,153 people are injured.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that an individual talking on the cellphone increases their chances of getting into an accident by 300 percent.
One of the University of Utah’s studies, which tested drivers on simulated vehicles while under both cellphone and intoxicated conditions, concluded: “Impairments associated with using a cellphone while driving can be as profound as those associated with driving while drunk.”
(Note: Driver distractions include activities such as smoking, eating, drinking, applying makeup and listening to the radio as well).
That third conclusion is very sobering. Mobile use has become so commonplace that most people don’t give it a second thought even though most people recognize the dangers associated with drunk driving. However, if more thought were given to driving and cellphone use, it is not hard to see how taking eyes of the road can be just as serious and the statistics seem to back this up.
Consider the attention it takes to dial, text, hit the button to answer an incoming call, dig around to locate a ringing phone in a purse or pocket or the mental stimulation it takes to have a conversation.
All it takes is one split second to miss a specific condition on the road or have an accident.
Are most conversations had on mobile while driving really worth the potential consequences? A serious emergency excepted, is anything truly that urgent?
Leigh has been writing on the web since 2007. She has a high interest in business, tech, higher education, and Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia travel, but loves to write about a variety of topics. In addition to writing on Writedge, she also runs a blog about the Washington DC Metro Area and a photography blog Photos by Leigh Goessl.