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Driving With Cell Phones

Apr 8, 2008
Not only is it dangerous to drive while talking on a cell phone, the practice may be leading to longer commutes. This is due to the fact that drivers tend to slow down while they are talking on their cell phones and can slow the traffic behind them down for miles.

Recent studies have shown that driver who are talking on their cell phones drive at a slower speed than other drivers. These motorists are also less likely to pass other slow-moving vehicles, causing delays for the traffic that is following them. These drivers also tend to make sudden turns at the last minute and may swerve within their own lane numerous times during their commute.

Previous studies have found that hands-free cell phones are no safer than traditional ones, leading the experts to believe that it is the conversation and not the device itself that is distracting. They also found that young adults talking on their cell phones had the same reaction times as senior citizens. These drivers were also as impaired as drivers with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 which is legally drunk in most states. This research also suggests that drivers talking on cell phones have a 5.36 greater risk of being in a car accident compared to regular drivers.

Cell phone users make up approximately 80% of the population. One insurance company estimates that 73% of these users talk on their cell phones while driving. During any given moment on U.S. roadways, 10% of the drivers are using cell phones. Due to these statistics, 50 countries world wide have adopted laws that ban cell phone use while driving (although these laws do not affect the use of hands-free devices).

The more recent studies have shown that that drivers talking on cell phones while moving in medium traffic congestion where 21% less likely to change lanes, while drivers in heavy traffic were 19% less likely to switch. While this percent may seem low, you should consider the fact that there are probably several drivers that are traveling on the same stretch of highway that are all talking on their cell phones.

Another result of this study showed that in low traffic levels, cell phone users spent 31% more time behind slower moving vehicles than normal drivers. In medium traffic, they spent 16% more time, and in heavy traffic these drivers spent 12% more time behind slower moving vehicles. In other words, these drivers spent 25 to 50 more seconds following another vehicle than normal drivers did over a ten mile stretch of road. These drivers that were using cell phones also drove 2 miles an hour slower.

Drivers who use their cell phones when they are behind the wheel may see nothing wrong with their actions. But as these studies have revealed, they pose a threat to the other drivers that are sharing the road with them. If you are one of these drivers, it may be a good idea for you to stay off your cell phone and pay attention to the road. Your fellow drivers will surely appreciate it.
About the Author
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