Driving While Using A Cell Phone Is Dangerous For Your Health

The studies have been conducted and the evidence is complete.  Use of a cell phone while driving is dangerous for your health and the health of others.  Texting while driving is even worse and in Colorado texting is illegal.

According to well documented research, the human brain experiences moments of “driving blindness” while talking on the phone. Depending on the nature of the conversation, your emotions during the conversation, what is being said to you, and what you are saying on the phone, all play a part in whether you are able to handle the immediate demands of driving.

Automobile accidents happen in split seconds and the distraction caused by the use of a cell phone can make the difference between avoiding an accident or causing serious injury to yourself or someone else.

In Colorado, drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from cell phone use, but otherwise there is no prohibition.  http://www.drivinglaws.org/colorado.php However, texting is illegal for everyone and for good reason.  Texting not only takes your mind away from the road, but also diverts your eyes.  This can be a deadly situation.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and National Safety Council studies reveal the following statistics:

  • Cell phone use has grown from 13% of the population to 91% over the past 15 years.
  • In 2008, 200,000 crashes involved texting and 1.4 million accidents involved cell phone talk
  • Thirty seven (37%) of drivers have sent or received text messages while driving.
  • Eighteen (18%) of drivers say they text while driving regularly.
  • Many drivers mistakenly believe that hands free cell phones are safer than handheld.

Mutli-Tasking: A Brain Drain

In today’s culture and our drive for increased productivity people believe they can drive and complete other tasks at the same time.  This thought process leads people to believe they can drive and use a cell phone to complete other business at the same time and do it safely.

The Myth of Multi-Tasking

The human brain does not perform two tasks at the same time.  Instead the brain handles tasks in order and switches very rapidly between separate tasks. http://www distracteddriving.nsc.org. This is called “attention switching” in which the brain attempts to handle all of the information it receives at the same time.  The brain selects information, processes information, encodes and stores the information and then depending on the type of information and response required, the brain retrieves and executes.

Brain Overload

When the brain becomes overloaded with “attention switching,” even if for a split second, attention is divided and some critical information is missed or filtered out.  This is why accidents can happen because people miss critical information in navigation and safety while driving.  This is what is known as “driving blindness”.

  • Over 30 studies conducted by the National Safety Council show hands free devices impair your ability to drive.
  • A University of Utah study showed that hands free and hand-held braking times were delayed.
  • A AAA Foundation for Traffic Survey found that 83% of drivers using cell phones was a serious or extremely serious problem.
  • About 13% of adult drivers have surfed the Internet while driving.
  • Results of the poll showed that younger drivers are likely to engage in distracted driving. Men are more likely to drive after drinking, read a map, use a GPS system, and or use the Internet.
  • Many people say they know cell phone use while driving is dangerous, but do it anyway.

Prevention

Make others aware of the risks of driving while using a cell phone.  Encourage people to call before beginning their trip or wait until they are finished driving.  If necessary, pull over to make a call or send a text message, however, remember that the side of the road, especially a highway is not a safe place to stop.  Support laws which prohibit the use of cellular devices while driving.  Make the road a safer place: do not talk or text while driving.

Call us today if you need any legal advice. We have the knowledge and willingness to assist you!

By Stuart Mann
Mann & Maximon, LLC