11 March 2005 :: 12:09 pm
Phones and Driving
Have you ever been on
the road and noticed that a car was going slow or maybe it just
took them a little longer to go after the light turned green?? Chances
are the person driving was on a cell phone.
Cell phones are just
one of many distractions that face drivers today.
Pemco Insurance Company did a survey and the results surprised me.
Eating a meal ranked the highest driver distraction at 65% followed
by talking on a cell phone at 58%.
The next four responses
are just silly: Steering with legs 25%, Applying makeup or shaving
14%, Reading a Newspaper or book 6% and writing a text message 3%.
Cell phone use is rising
each year. In 1990, there were only 4.3 million cell phone customers.
By January 2005, 175 million Americans had a personal cell phone.
Van and SUV drivers are found to use cell phones the most. Women
tend to use cell phones more than men.
Why do people even use
a cell phone while they are driving? 58% of men use a phone in the
car to discuss business. 37% of women use their phone in the car
to discuss family matters. Cell phones are only use for emergencies
11% of the time for women and 6% of the time for men.
Using a cell phone in
the car is like taking a risk. Drivers must take their eyes off
the road while dialing a number. People who are driving lose their
ability to concentrate on the road and their driving is severely
impaired. The use of hands-free devices does not help; it just makes
the problem even worse.
Everyday in the U.S.,
7 deaths are linked to cell phone related crashes.
That equals 2,600 deaths annually and 330,000 injuries. Drivers
that are on the phone are 18% slower to reach to break lights and
17% longer to regain speed after stopping.
Over 40 different countries
around the world ban cell phone use while driving in one way or
another. In Germany, you can only use your cell phone when your
engine is turned off. In New Delhi, India, you can get prison sentences
if you are caught talking on the phone and it includes using a hands-free
In Ireland, if you are
caught, you will get a $380 fine or 3 months in jail. In Poland,
you can get a ticket up to $1,000 for using your phone on the road.
What’s being done
to correct this problem in the U.S.? The only states in the U.S.
that have a ban on cell phone use while driving are New York, New
Jersey and Washington D.C. In America, lawmakers believe that cell
phones are used for emergencies most of the time but studies prove
In the state of New
York, the first violation costs $100, the second is $200 and those
after are $500 each. In New Jersey, fines are between $100 and $250
each. In Washington D.C., you can get a ticket for $100. The U.S.
Congress is working to get a bill passed to ban cell phone use while
Here are some tips for safe cell phone use:
- Keep your hands on
the wheel at all times
- Keep your eyes on
the road at all times
- Position your phone
where it is easy to see and use
- Use the speed dial
feature instead of dialing the whole number
- Pull over, park your
car and dial manually
- Use voicemail if it
is inconvenient to answer
I only use my cell phone
if I am having car trouble or it is some kind of other emergency.
Otherwise, the call can wait and just go to my voicemail.
The best solution to
this problem is to just not use your cell phone at all on the road.
We all know that’s not realistic but at least try. Nobody
wants to become a victim.
R. “Drivers on cell phones kill thousands.” MSNBC News.
2 Feb. 2005. http://msnbc.msn.com/id/6895319/
Phones and Driving.” Insurance Information Institute. February
that ban cell phones while driving.” http://www.cellular-news.com/car_bans/
24 Feb. 2005.
of Motor Vehicles. “Cell Phone Law Brochure.” http://www.nysgtsc.state.ny.us/phon-bro.htm
24 Feb. 2005.