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The Law Of Distraction

Mar 25, 2008
According to the "mobileherald.com", as of 2006 the statistical breakdown worldwide, of the percentage of households, by country, that own mobile phones are: Japan at 95%, South Korea at 94%, China at 93%, France at 85%, Germany at 83%, and the UK at 79%. The article also sites a prediction by Nokia, that by 2009, there will be over 3 Billion people using mobile phones worldwide. The 2005 Cell Phone Ownership statistic was 66% of the population, that's a population of 297 million people of which 197 million own cell phones.

According to an article in the MIT Communications Forum, dated November 2005, by Peter Rauch, then the global ownership of cell phones was approximately 2 billion users, and in some countries (he didn't say which), there are more cell phones than people. Oh my.

New York State, effective November 2001, banned the use of hand-held cell phones. Governor George Pataki, was quoted in a June 2001 article posted by CNN, as saying, using a cell phone while driving poses "an enormous threat to public safety." Handheld Cell Phone devices are currently banned in Connecticut, New Jersey DC, and Washington DC. Californians are going to have to go handsfree as well in 2008, according to the Law signed by Governor Schwarzenegger in the fall of 2006.

In Canada, the only province at this time to have a ban on the use of hand-held cell phones while driving, is Newfoundland and Labrador. Other provinces are being pressured into passing similar legislation, and this fall, Quebec may enact a similar law. Part of the hesitation of such laws, is the concern for the lack of precedence and the challenges that ultimately come with new Laws. Collision statistics for Newfoundland from 2003 to 2005 indicate a reduction of accidents by eight percent.

More than 30 countries have outlawed the use of hand-held cellphones while driving, including Australia, Germany and Japan. Here's a very useful web-page, providing a detailed list of Countries that have banned cell phones while driving - A very useful web-page for travelers by car.

Opponents of these bans believe the Law singles out cell phones when there are many other causes for distracted driving. Also, some say banning hand-held cell phones adds little to address the larger problem of distracted driving, and could actually encourage riskier habits, such as BlackBerry usage or text messaging. If you're a stats person, you may find this Paper - - on the "Effect of Car Phone Usage on Cognitive Ability and Driving Performance", a very interesting read. Much to the disagreement of the above opponents, the results of this study concluded that "car phone use is dangerous and caution should be used". But "Opponents" don't despair yet! A New Zealand Fact Finding Article entitled "Cell Phone Use While Driving - Summary of Research and Analysis", studying car accidents and cell phone usage, drew a conclusion at the time the study was compiled, September 2003, that cell phone usage was not a significant factor in car crashes, compared to other distractions. Whether this conclusion for New Zealand today, still stands, probably requires another study.

Well, to sum this up, according to an article in the December 2006 issue of USA Today, entitled, "Distracted driving big cause of crashes", "distracted driving is emerging as nearly as serious a factor as speeding and impaired driving...", so it would certainly be foolish to leave this article thinking "it's all the fault of the cell phone". In fact, in this same article it sites Washington States tracking of 12 specific driver distractions as outlined in a recent study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Cell Phone Usage did rank in first place as the top item causing driver distraction. The other top distractions are DVD Players, Satellite Radios, Hand-Held Organizers, iPods, Global Positioning Systems, Kids, Pets, Fast Food, Hot Beverages, Newspapers, Road Side Accidents, and Signs & Billboards. I think that's 13?
About the Author
Author, Barbara Cipak, Site Owner of My-Telework-Tools featuring Tools such as, Cell Phone Comparisons , and other Virtual Office Tools for the Mobile Worker & Small Business.
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