A Call to Hang Up the Cell Phone

By: Kristen Ross Email
By: Kristen Ross Email

It's a call to ban cell phone use while driving.

The National Safety Council says it's a dangerous practice that leads to an increased risk for car crashes and fatalities.

Studies have found nearly 3,000 deaths, and 12,000 injuries each year are caused by cell phone use while driving. So now the safety group is advocating a total ban of the device, while traveling on the road.

Most people are guilty of it.

"Both texting and calling actually," Motorist Bryan Williams said.

Whether it be sending off a few messages while waiting for the light to turn green, or returning a few phone calls while on the road.

It's a technology many of us now depend on, and some feel is driving motorists to distraction.

"When I'm texting, yeah, you'll look up and cars you don't remember being by you are there," Williams said. "It's just not safe because you're not completely paying attention to what's going on."

That's why safety groups, like the National Safety Council, are now pushing for a complete ban of cell phone use while driving.

"I think any of us who have driven have experienced the situation where you follow a person using a cell phone and witness their driving behavior is not up to standard," Quinn Brackett with the Texas Transportation Institute said.

Brackett says they've conducted their own simulator studies; where they've asked people to drive or attempt to drive a certain simulator course. Once without a phone, then while chatting it up on the phone and texting.

The results aren't to surprising.

"We found that it increased the risk of distraction and the likelihood of making an error while driving," Brackett said. "If you're going to use them it's much better to pull over and park on the side of the road to use it."

But for motorists like Skip Dent, who says he does most his business by phone while driving to his next job, the idea of pulling over each time he gets a call just doesn't have a ring to it.

"I feel like you're a target sitting on the shoulder," Dent said as his cell phone begins to ring. "There you go, see but I'm not driving. Hello?"

Currently no state bans the complete use of cell phones while driving, but six states have imposed tougher cell phones rules.

California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Utah and Washington, and the District of Columbia only allow hands-free devices to be used when behind the wheel.

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