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The consequences of using a phone while driving Essay

The consequences of using a phone while driving


            Use of cell phones while driving should be banned in all the places as it causes a lot of distraction, also it can cause some harm to the driver and also the persons or passengers near the driver and this can consequently lead to accidents. These cases are mostly prevalent on the young people. In the most instances, cell phone use while driving has been proven my many researchers as a very dangerous thing to partake (Jane et al 2001). In the recent times, the cases of fatal automobile accidents which are related to use of cell phones use while driving has been on the rise. The greater number of these cases have mostly involved the young people usually the people aged 25 years and below. A study which was carried recently shows that the reaction of a driver who is using a phone reduces dramatically increasing the accident risks and also tying up traffic in general, and also when the young adults use the mobile phones while driving they are as bad as sleepy septuagenarians (Britt, 2006). In accordance to David (Strayer, 2003) who is a professor in psychology in the Utah university, if a young driver is put behind the wheel while using a mobile phone, their response slows down to equate to a 70 year old driver who is not using a mobile phone. This is like an instant aging by a large number of drivers (Britt, 2006).

            Use of cell phone while behind the wheel causes more negatives than positive instances. It results to road rage from the others, minor accidents, traffic jams and even more fatal accidents. In accordance with the Human factor and the Economic Society, interruption by cell phone results to up to 26000 deaths and more than 3300000 injuries in the US each and every year. The drivers on phones were 19% slower in reacting to brake lights (Jane et al 2001). In a most of the cases, they maintained a 15 percent grater following distance in comparison to the recommended distance. Also these drivers take 20 percent longer distance to reach a halt when they brake and also takes more than ten percent longer to regain to their speed that was lost when they braked. This causes frustration to every road user. Once these he hit the brakes, it takes them more time to reach the halt and this can result to hitting the car in front. They also take more time to regain to their normal speed hence slowing the flow of traffic. The net result of this is impeding the overall flow of traffic (Britt, 2006).

            So, after scrutinizing into more researches it is evident that simultaneous use of cell phone while driving is more dangerous than most individuals made it out to be. The teenagers seem to be the worst in this. Cell phones that are produced nowadays posses many applications that are most destructive than others. For instance, a young girl driving down the road at a speed of 60 kilometers per hour and her mobile phone alerts by ringing, she would reach across the car to pick it, takes a look at the screen of the phone to see who is it was texting, when she looks back she learns that she is about to rear out another vehicle. This will automatically slow the response and she hits the brakes in time to avoid a big collision. Only a small damage is done on both vehicles and may be no body is injured or sometimes one or both are injured (Jeffrey, 2004). This young lady only took a quick look on the road, but still she put herself and others on a great danger. If we take another example of another lady driving at a slower pace in a school atmosphere at a speed let’s say of 20 kilometers per hour and her cell phone goes to sleep, the only thing that disrupts her is her boyfriend’s text message (Jeffrey, 2004). She looks at the screen of the mobile phone, eyes are out of the road, same as the lady in the last illustration, and her eyes are off the road for a big period of time. She spends some time to read the text message and only a short look at the road, and then backside to the phone screen to reply back the text message. One hand is left on the wheel and the other on the cell phone’s keyboard and both her eyes on the mobile phone; mother carrying a baby who is walking across the street. This mishap happens to be fatal.

            The next thing we shall talk about is the hands free cell phones. Many people will argue that these phones are not distracting or dangerous at all, but actually they are as distracting as the others (Laberge, 2003). Whether an individual is texting or talking their concentration is distracted. Some people think that when they are just listening and talking with their eyes on the road and not taking them of, they are just as alert as the drivers not physically taking their phones. In accordance to the (Strayer, 2003) and his colleagues, this perception is wrong. In the year 2001, (Strayer, 2003) and his colleagues found that even the use of hands free cell phones distracted the drivers. In the year 2003, a reason for this was revealed to be that the drivers will look but they will not see as the conversation distracts them. It was discovered by the scientist that chatty motorist are less adept than the drivers who are drunk with their alcohol in their blood levels exceeding 0.09 (Britt, 2006).

            It was stated by a certain man who led the Illinois study on these incidences that, with the young people, everything really goes worse. Both the old adults and the young adults tended to slow performance deficits. They made also more errors as compared to the adult drivers and also it took them more time to react to changes. It was discovered by researchers that the impaired reaction will take seconds and not just a fraction of a second and so, stopping distances increased with the car lengths (Jeffrey, 2004)

            A recent study carried by (Strayer, 2003) that included people between the age of 18 and 25 years and another group of people between the age of 65 to 65 revealed that the elderly drivers were too very slow in reacting to the changes on the road when they were on cell phones. This uncovered a twofold increase in the rise in the number of rear- end collisions by drivers who were on the cell phones. The old drivers seem to be the cautious group on the road overall. The study shown that the older drivers were slightly less likely to cause traffic accident than the young drivers. These old guys tend to have a longer driving distance but the young driver will keep a very short distance because they have that urge to overtake the car in front. The older drivers were identified as being the most cautious drivers but they were the most likely group to be rear-ended owing to their significant slow speed especially when they were on the cell phone (Laberge, 2003).

            These two groups of people posses this problem of using the cell phones while driving. Although the older people had a better reaction time than the young ones, it was still very dangerous. It is known that no matter how cautious one may be, loss of concentration is a big distraction to the individual. It takes one away consciously from where he/she is supposed to be concentrating and poses threats still to the involved along with the others. If we focus on texting while driving, it is seen that texting takes also more concentration than even talking. This practice not only takes the persons mental and conscious concentration, but also the physical part of the individual as well. Texting takes more time than it takes to simply answer a call. The rises in the number of fatal accidents that are taking place as the drivers are texting are a bit ridiculous. Many people have lost their lives even though they were not the ones who were directly using the phone. It could be the other casualty was the one who was either texting or answering a call (Jeffrey, 2004).

            Many people think that multi tasking while driving is the major cause of distraction and the driver’s inattention. This belief is leading to enacting of laws that ban or restrict the use of communication devices like the computers and cell phones while driving (Eby, may 2003). The correct argument should be put as being that multi tasking can lead to distraction if the involved driver has not properly trained or not conversant with the use of the new gadgets bin the car while on the road. This is true for the old gadgets like the radio and CD as well as the new devices like cell phones, GPS and the Emails. So it is evident that multi tasking will lead to drivers committing more mistakes when they are not trained properly or trained themselves in the best way possible to handle these gadgets. This should be taken as a joint responsibility between the drivers and the government so as to mitigate this problem. This is the reason why the older adults between the age of 30 and 60 years are not in many instances met in this circumstance. They have already trained themselves in the best manner possible and hence they use these gadgets freely without getting distracted. Multi tasking while driving is a matter of degree and hence all the drivers are responsible in determining when they really needed self training activities (Jane et al 2001). When these drivers overlap this line, they are the ones to socially and legally to blame. The drivers who allow them to get distracted by the multi tasking activities are putting themselves on the danger and also imposing these dangers to other drivers and passengers or else the overall road users. This high risk that the other road users are put in by the multi tasking drivers is similar to the other driver behavior that is considered both illegal and aggressive. These other drivers behaviors include: exceeding safe speed limits, going through the red lights, reckless weaving, failing to yield, road rage, drinking and driving, drowsy or sleepy driving etc (Claire, 2006).

            Even though it is believed by Dr. Leon James that the correct argument on multi tasking could lead to the driver’s distraction if the driver has not properly trained themselves to use the car gadget, the so called multi tasking should be banned while one is behind the wheel. No matter how an individual driver thinks he/she is well trained to multi task, their concentration are still lost and taken away from the road. The time that a driver puts their eyes away from the road to text or answer a call, they are automatically placing themselves into a great danger and also every parson who is around them (Eby, may 2003). How many individuals are going to lose their lives or get injured before the drivers realize the dangers of using mobile phones while they are driving? Many drivers are breaking the red lights and also going off the road while they are the influence of toxins. This same thing is happening when people are continuously using their cell phones while driving, so what is the difference between these instances? (Claire, 2006).

            Most of the accidents during the day are mainly being caused by drivers using cell phones which disrupts them . an article was published in may 2007 by Jennifer on the effects of using mobile phones on the roads while driving. This article found that although dialing was identified as the main cause of distractions on the road, even the hands free phones were seen as distracters and also caused a significant number of accidents(Eby, may 2003).. The cell phone users were identified as the more than five times likely to cause accidents than a driver who did not use mobile phone while behind the screen. In all the studies on this topic, dialing as well as texting was identified as a distraction as it involves the physical as well as mental activity by that person. The drivers who adopt the practices of answering the phones while behind the wheel are in most cases not aware of the things that are taking place around them on the way. After taking a close look at this, it is clear that there have been many instances when people have been close to be hit, cut off or even injured or killed by the drivers who are using the cell phone behind the wheel (Eby, may 2003).

            Another opinion that is being expressed on this by the advocates of this practice is that a great the number of accidents that have been caused by use of mobile phone while driving is significantly negligible. What these supporters fail to consider is the use of cell phones while behind the wheel is not necessary and it does not matter the number of deaths caused by this practice. No matter how small this number might seem to be, this should be inacceptable and should come to an instant halt. Many parents, kids and other people are losing their lives or are being injured as a result of this inacceptable practice. How could one expect to be attentive while they are handling other things on a busy road and ion the most cases the cars are on speed?

            As a result of this phone usage practice all over, many citizens are losing their lives on a daily basis as a result of the disruption that is caused by this practice. How many children are going to be left parentless, how many women are going to be windowed before the people realize this danger? It seems no one has an answer on this issue but the big thing that can be done is the government to come in between and protect their citizens by running an awareness on this and also banning this kind of practice


Laberge-Nadeau, Claire (September 2003). “Wireless telephones and the risk of road crashes”. Accident Analysis & Prevention 35 (5): 649–660. Claire Laberge-Nadeau (October 2–5, 2005). “Linking data from different sources to estimate the risk of a collision when using a cell phone while driving”(PDF). Toronto, Canada.

Claire Laberge-Nadeau et al. (2006). “Crash Risk and Cell Phone Use: Important Questions on the Real Risk for Legal Decision Makers”.

U.S. DOT National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Distacted Drive Report released Sept 2010 http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811379.pdf

Eby, David; Lidia Kostyniuk (May 2003). HYPERLINK “http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/1533/2/97314.0001.001.pdf” “Driver distraction and crashes: An assessment of crash databases and review of the literature””. The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

Jane C. Stutts, et al. (May 2001). “The role of driver distraction in traffic crashes” (PDF). AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

HYPERLINK “http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/injury/research/wireless/” “An Investigation of the Safety Implications of Wireless Communications in Vehicles”. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 1997.

Strayer, David; Drews, Frank; Crouch, Dennis (2003). “Fatal Distraction? A Comparison of the Cell-Phone Driver and The Drunk Driver”. University of Utah Department of Psychology.

Cell Phone Use and Motor Vehicle CollisionsJeffrey K. Caird et al. (October 25, 2004). “Effects of cellular telephones on driving behaviour and crash risk: results of meta-analysis”. CAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Britt, William; Christopher Wickens (Spring 2006). “Examining the Impact of Cell Phone Conversations on Driving Using Meta-Analytic Techniques” (PDF). Human Factors (Human Factors and Ergonomics Society) 38 (1): 196–205.

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