The effects of texting while driving have been a matter of great interest lately. 50 percent of drivers between the age of 16 and 24 confessed to having texted while driving. Two thousand young drivers die annually from accidents related to texting. In May 2009, there was a much publicized car crash in Boston where a driver crashed texting his girlfriend. On September 12, 2008, A Union Pacificfreight train and a Metrolink commuter train had a collision in Los Angeles, California. The accident claimed the lives of 25 commuters. Investigations by National Transport Safety Board (NTBS) found out that the Metrolink train operator had been texting while operating the train. The investigation concluded that the engineer might have been distracted by numerous texts he sent while on duty.
How a cell phone contributes to driving hazards
According to a research from the University of Utah, driving while using a phone lowers a driver’s reaction time to levels observed in drunken individuals. Cell phone results in thousands of road accidents and car crashes annually since our brain have difficulty managing several tasks simultaneously. Using a hand held phone while driving increase car crash risks by up to four times.
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When people have conversations, they often have to give the information they get due consideration. This concentration on the information they receive from conversations competes for the brain capacity and can cause impaired decisions.
Latest studies show 8 percent of drivers drive while using cell phones; however, this statistics is expected to rise. Phone conversations take driver’s concentration off the road. Not withstanding the use of either handheld or hands-free phones, the driver loses focus on his driving duty impairing the driver’s judgment. Phone conversations leads to driving impairments as shown below;
- Inattention blindness: – drivers engaged in phone conversations do not monitor everything they see on their environment. This is a potential cause for harm since the driver is not able to identify a potential danger or respond to emergency circumstances effectively. Research shows that drivers using mobile phones while driving fail to see half of the objects on their driving setting.
- Slow reaction time: – drivers using cell phones while driving experienced slow response to emergency situations on the road.
- Sticking to lanes: – drivers engaged in phone conversations have problems sticking to their lanes. Using cell phones while driving fast may cause weaving on the lanes leading to crashes.
Most drivers admit to the potential harm involved in using cell phones while driving; however, confessed to using phones while driving.