Drivers Aware of Risks But Continue Using Cell Phones

May 20, 2008 12:14 PM
by Colleen Brondou
Despite evidence that cell phones are distracting, many people view using cell phones while driving as a personal right.

30-Second Summary

Nationwide Mutual Insurance recently conducted a survey of 1,500 Americans and found that 81 percent of them use their cell phones while driving, even though at least 40 percent of them had been hit, or almost hit, by another driver talking on a phone. Busy schedules and time pressures were the most frequent excuses.

The dangers of using a cell phone while driving are well-documented. Researchers at the University of Utah have conducted several studies over the past seven years showing that cell phones are distracting, decrease reaction time and even impair driving ability more than alcohol consumption.

As more and more states enact bans on cell phone use while driving, the controversy heats up. The House Committee on Transportation, Highways and Public Works in Louisiana recently approved a measure to ban the use of hand-held cell phones while driving. Rep. Barbara Norton, D-Shreveport, a committee member opposed to the measure, points out that “drivers eat, put on makeup and change their shoes while driving.” According to Norton, “This is the American way.”

In the Western Standard, a Canadian magazine, Pierre Lemieux comments on Quebec and Nova Scotia’s recent ban of hand-held cell phone use in cars. His column echoes a common American sentiment when he concludes that, “in our society, where multiple regulations and prohibitions constrain the largest part of our daily lives … no new prohibition has a benign impact on our liberties.”

Headline Link: ‘Most drivers guiltily admit to using cell phones: poll’

Background: Countless studies prove cell phones are distracting

Opinion & Analysis: “This is the American way”

Related Topic: Cell phones pose other risks

Reference: Driver’s education, revisited


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