Drivers have also been tempted to multitask while on the wheel, this is one of the most dangerous things to do while on the road. Use of cell phones while driving has become so common such that it attracted lawmakers attention as it is a disaster waiting to happen in this country. This habit has been equated to drunken driving which has claimed so many lives and left other serious injured through road accidents which have occurred in the recent past. Use of cell phone while driving is such a dangerous habit which puts the life of those driving and their passengers at risk.
It is high time that a law was enacted prohibiting this particular practice before it gets out of hand. (Sturnquist, D 2006 29) Drivers who use the cellular phones either on hands free or handheld are as impaired as those who drive under the influence of alcohol. This was according to a research that was carried out by researchers from the University of Utah. The research showed that the use of hands free is just as distracting as the handheld mobile phones.
To address this distraction the study recommended for the outlawing the use of cell phones while on the wheel. Use of the cell phone while driving has been known to cause physical and cognitive distraction on the driver, to start with when the phone rings the driver has to look for the phone, this means that his or her attention will be distracted as he picks the phones to answer the call. By the time the drivers mind hit back on the road an accident may have occurred or he might been forced to slow down to concentrate on the phone resulting into a traffic jam.
This causes inconveniences to other road users and at the same time threatens the life of the driver as it is hard to concentrate in two involving tasks at the same time. Drivers who text while driving are even at a greater risk as this activity requires full attention than receiving or making a call. They need to look at different keys so that they can write a comprehensive text, in the course of locating these keys their eyes are off the road oftenly. It only takes a few seconds for a driver to make a mistake and through a flash of second an accident will have occurred.
If strict laws were enacted prohibiting the use of short text messaging while the driver is on the road the number of accidents that have been occurring due to such a habit will be minimal. Some cities have put these laws in place and the results have been seen. The number of people driving while texting have decreased and so is the accidents. (Sturnquist, D 2006 30) Talking on the phone while driving is equally dangerous as texting, the driver will first be distracted by the ringing tone as the phone alerts him or her.
This distraction can come at a time when the driver was at a point where maximum attention was required. This will drift the drivers attention from the road to the phone. To reach for the ringing phone or search for it the eyes will be moved from the road to the direction of the phone. The driver will have to remove one hand from the steering wheel and receive the call. As the conversation begins the drivers attention will be further drifted away to get the details.
In such a situation he or she may not be in a position to apply brakes in case a pedestrian is closing the road or an approaching car comes by his side. The driver may also get news which might make him or her excited or greatly disturb. This will lead to loss of concentration as the driver tries to come in to terms with the news. He forgets that he was on the road as the mind tries to solve the current issue. At this point the driver is not in full control of the vehicle. Anything that requires an immediate action will make the driver panic and an accident will have occurred.
(McDonald, K 2006 31) The use of cellular phones by automobile drivers is as dangerous as driving under the influence of the alcohol or even performing other tasks such as eating, operating a radio. The policy makers should come up with the strict laws which will restrict such a practice as it the only way through which the road carnage will decrease. Though cellular phones are convenient to use as people can communicate promptly regardless of the distance, it should be used cautiously especially for those who are driving as it might lead to serious repercussions.
Whether one is sending a short message, making or receiving a call it equally dangerous as all these activities leads to the distraction of the driver. This distraction might cost one life or lead to the inconveniences of other road users. Prohibiting the use of cellular phones for the drivers might not be taken positively by the cellular service providers and the drivers themselves but it might be the only way through which the government can ensure that road accidents have been reduced.
Use of phone while driving should be taken as dangerous driving as it risks the life of the drivers and other passengers as well as other road users. If drunken driving has been prohibited other dangerous habits should be outlawed so as the safety of the road users can be guaranteed.
McDonald, K Shifting Out of Pack, Lawyers and Judges Publishing (2006) Sturnquist, D Mobile Phones and Driving, Nova Publishers (2006)