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Do you use your cell phone while driving and for what?

Posted: , by Ray S.

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Do you use your cell phone while driving and for what?
Recently, there was a news story going that the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) has recommended that drivers be banned from using their cell phones (actually, the ban is on all electronic devices) while behind the wheel, except for when in emergency situations. OK, we can already hear you saying "This is outrageous! How dare they!", but let's all just calm down for a second and think about the reasoning behind such a radical move.

What has driven (no pun intended) the NTSB to make such a suggestion? Not that the numerous accidents that happen every month aren't enough of a reason, but the main catalyst can been seen in a tragic accident from last year, which involved a pickup truck, two school buses and a 19-year-old driver who managed to send or receive 11 text messages in 11 minutes, with the last one being sent just moments before the crash, which had two fatalities and 38 people injured as a result. Now, in this case it seems like there isn't something else that we can blame for distracting the driver, except for their cell phone, doesn't it?

However, what makes the NTSB's request interesting is that it targets electronic device usage as a whole (though we're most concerned with cell phones), and not a specific action such as text messaging, which is what other similar undertakings go for. For example, it was recently reported that Florida wants to become the 36th state in the country to have a law against texting while driving. So, as a whole, most accusations have always been towards texting, and not towards phone use in general.

Well, the question is how far are we willing to take our actions against any possible distractions that may occur behind the wheel. When you think about it, is it the interaction with the device when having a phone call, or the phone call itself which is distracting you more? Aren't you still distracted in a way, when using a hands-free headset? You are still required to take actions to answer the call and then to dedicate a part of your mind to the conversation. In that line of thoughts, there is some sense in banning cell phone usage in cars altogether. However, whether such harsh measures are indeed necessary is hard to say, because it's unclear if, for example, talking via a Bluetooth headset is distracting enough, or if such a ban would actually help reduce those accidents. That's what's making such proposals like the one by the NTSB difficult to approve, as it's hard to prove your point.

Still, it's appreciable that even if such a law ever sees the light of day, we'll be allowed to use our smartphones for things that are "supporting the driving task". Wohoo! GPS navigation, anyone? Alright, having said all that you're probably dying to voice your opinions on the matter. Of course, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below, but don't forget to vote in our poll - let's see how many of you guys are using your cell
phone in the car and for what!

Phonearena polls
sort by
What do you use your phone for while driving?
224 votes
(224 votes) Calling, texting... whatever I want.
18 votes
(18 votes) Texting... (guilty face).
89 votes
(89 votes) Calling via a Bluetooth headset.
95 votes
(95 votes) Navigation.
101 votes
(101 votes) Listening to music.
91 votes
(91 votes) No phone usage at all. Safety first!

618 votes

  • Options

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 10:18 6

1. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4833; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)

I will be really honest. I try my best not to text & drive. If I get a text I will reply at a stop sign or light. Now if there is no light or stop sign, then I will call those people back.

When I have my kids in the car I won’t even grab my phone unless I am at a light or a stop sign. My worst fear would be to get into an accident & put my 2 boys in harm’s way because of a stupid text.

The state where I live there is no law against using a mobile device while driving. I kind of wish there was a law because it will make me think twice about using it when I am driving solo.

I see people on a daily basis, swerve into my lane because they are texting. I would hate to have someone smash into me because they are texting or surfing the web while driving. I am not saying that what I do is right, but at least I wait until I am stopped to answer or send any texts, but to drive & text is very dangerous.

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 11:32 3

14. ayephoner (Posts: 850; Member since: 09 Jun 2009)

texting while driving is no more dangerous than any other small distraction.

the danger is that people are idiots and awful drivers.

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 12:54 2

22. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4833; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)

That is exactly my fear. I know what I do is not right, but atleast I wait until the vehicle is fully stopped. In the 2 minute wait I can send at least 2 to 3 texts before the light turns green.

I am not proud of that & I will stop just for my own sake. I will never do it with my children even at stop lights. I would forever hate myself if anything happened to my boys because of my selfish need to text & drive. It can wait plain and simple.

posted on 18 Dec 2011, 09:41 1

47. QWIKSTRIKE (Posts: 1130; Member since: 09 Mar 2010)

Honest, but stupid statement.....Why Should I who is responsible have a law made for a few irresponsible people like you.....Since 1989 I have had a cellular phone and driving , while being real responsible never ever have I had any incidents. I think talking on the phone with a headset is no more distracting than listening to a radio or having someone in the car with you. Too bad 300 out of 200 million people is causing a law to be made in which I truely believe is just a way of increasing revenues without causing a squawk form the masses! Never trust the crooks that make laws for you, and I without hidden agendas today!

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 13:02 3

24. metoyou (Posts: 279; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)

I think calling is fine but texting is not fine at all.. okay i do received call but NOT dialing
What about woman put on make up or lipstick while driving? not to mention most woman are horrible when come to driving (they simply left their sense at home or somewhere when on wheel)

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 13:19 3

26. Ray.S (Posts: 329; Member since: 19 Jul 2011)

I don't really see the difference between calling and texting behind the wheel. Both are major distractions, physically and mentally.

posted on 17 Dec 2011, 08:24

41. exidor01 (Posts: 8; Member since: 17 Dec 2011)

since when did women have sense at home. Women are good for 4 things: one of 4 things include their sister.

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 16:09

32. tbar (Posts: 34; Member since: 18 Jan 2010)

Baloney!!! What are you smoking??? Texting and driving is extremely dangerous and the data is there to support it. People definitely do other things that are also very dangerous: women putting on makeup; drivers eating while driving; etc. Texting, which requires looking at the phone and not the road, is not a small distraction.

The biggest idiots and awful drivers are the ones texting while driving.

posted on 17 Dec 2011, 07:24

38. theindianguy (Posts: 90; Member since: 30 Sep 2011)

does listening to music and riding a 'bike' count as a distracton?

posted on 17 Dec 2011, 07:34

39. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

are you riding your bike with no handlebars? :)

posted on 17 Dec 2011, 08:25

42. exidor01 (Posts: 8; Member since: 17 Dec 2011)

he is probably riding a bike with no seat!!

posted on 17 Dec 2011, 14:58 1

45. nak1017 (Posts: 328; Member since: 08 Jan 2010)

People, please look at TALKING and TXTING as two different arguments.

Banning txting has some merit since it takes atleast one hand off the wheel and (in most cases) requires taking your eyes off the road. If you want to still make it illegal, so be it BUT if you nah sayers haven't noticed, the cell phone industry has responded with apps like Siri and Google Voice Command to help keep people's focus on the road. It is a real issue, but people are addressing it. Please, give it time.

The argument for banning talking on the phone really doesn't make much sense outside of the simple act of holding the phone up to your ear. Under that circumstance, one hand is off the wheel (unless you're doing that "ear-to-shoulder phone taco" move which isn't any better) and the range of motion for your head is limited. However, if you own a headset, have a bluetooth speakerphone, or own a car with a bluetooth speakerphone function built into the radio, than there should be no issue with you using the phone in your car. All of those options allow you to keep both hands on the wheel and maintain full range of head motion. So the only argument left is, what, the talking part? If you have a driver's license in the US, you are guilty of talking to someone in the car (driving exams have instructors after all). Besides, there are plenty of things more distracting than talking in a car, such as drinking something, eating, dealing with unruly kids, putting on make-up, etc etc etc.

What it comes down to is wanting to penalize distracted driving and cell phones happen to be a convenient excuse. Sure the fatality numbers will drop ever so slightly and the overly-cautious will declare a "major victory" over recklessness, but it won't be because of their actions... Automotive fatality rates have been steadily dropping since the late sixties and that's all thanks to better design, not banning convenience. In the US, speed limits have actually gone up since then, bucking the same logic the "cellphones are bad" people are trying to pitch. By that logic taken to an extreme, building small round single-seat cars out of foam, cutting the speed limit to a crawl and forcing everyone into helmets while driving would be justifiable since it would save lives.

Progress is scary. Let the industry catch up to the problem instead of just trying to stop everything with one big band-aid fix. We have viable solutions in place for talking on the phone in the car. If you want to ban txting and driving with the phone up to your ear, so be it, but let those of us that have alternatives use them instead of just trying to make broad reaching nebulous laws.

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 12:16 8

19. Muhannad (Posts: 455; Member since: 20 Sep 2011)

I text and call when I'm in the car....that's because I'm 15 and can't drive yet.

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 21:11

35. ledbetterp3 (Posts: 467; Member since: 31 Aug 2011)

that's not what it asked, retard. It asked: "Do you use your cell phone while DRIVING and for what?".

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 17:38 1

34. bbstorm2435 (Posts: 37; Member since: 21 Oct 2009)

Here is the truth of the matter: if they start to ban texting while driving it could actually cause MORE accidents. The reason? People no longer would be holding their cell phones up on top of the steering wheel or up towards where your eyes aren't wandering that far from the road to down in a person's lap so that they can avoid being caught. I have seen it first hand because there was recently a ban on texting while driving where I live, and people are now just putting the phone in their laps and doing it.

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 10:23 2

2. rendHELL (Posts: 304; Member since: 09 Nov 2011)

i dont use my phone when driving...

use Sprint Drive First app...

you cant use your phone because phone senses when you are driving...

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 11:30 2

13. ayephoner (Posts: 850; Member since: 09 Jun 2009)

or riding.

its a good app for teen drivers. no one else.

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 13:29 1

27. rendHELL (Posts: 304; Member since: 09 Nov 2011)

but not good for teens who knows how to disable it.... XD

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 10:29

3. willywill_evo (Posts: 162; Member since: 05 Jan 2011)

only for mp3s and if i dont have that song i use youtube as a backup..i hate CDs..sometime i use the phone as gps aswell but NO TEXTING

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 11:33 1

15. ayephoner (Posts: 850; Member since: 09 Jun 2009)

how is searching youtube (or your song collection) any different than texting?

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 10:37

5. clevername (Posts: 1436; Member since: 11 Jul 2008)

I tend to lean toward the side of letting people use Bluetooth. I know conversing can be distracting but is talking over a Bluetooth. More distracting than talking to the person in the passenger seat who may actually divert your attention enough to turn your head? Also as a father I know kids in the back are way more distracting than my phone.

That said, im guilty As can be. When i drive by myself I've been known to text and call at times while driving...sometimes posting to social sites and even....gasp...reading phonearena at red lights. I'm probably the worst of everyone.

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 10:43 1

7. clevername (Posts: 1436; Member since: 11 Jul 2008)

But as a saving grace of sorts I do use voice actions to dictate instead Of typing. Eyes stay on the road unless I'm stopped.

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 10:39 1

6. Retro-touch (Posts: 273; Member since: 24 Oct 2011)

I just answer calls don't know why they didn't put that option in the poll. Its kinda hard texting on a touchscreen while driving so I don't risk it

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 10:46 1

8. iamcc (Posts: 1319; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)

I text and call while driving but all by voice... sure I have to look down at the phone for 2-3 sec to hit the mic button but I usually do that part at a stop light like evo said.

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 10:49 1

9. rodex (Posts: 23; Member since: 14 Dec 2011)

I physically touch the phone only for navigation while driving; at RED traffic lights, I glance at any notifications once in a while.

For Texting, most of the phones now have voice to text features.. while driving, that's the only thing I use (handsfree).. WP7 has very good voice to text for texting.. with the new Iphone 4s, that feature is available as well...

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 10:58 4

10. Meth7 (Posts: 20; Member since: 13 Dec 2011)

I see these assholes texting while driving in nyc all the time. It should never be tolerated.

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 11:01 1

11. bluechrism (Posts: 99; Member since: 09 Sep 2011)

With the phone in a handsfree dock on my dashboard, and bluetooth speaker/FM transmitter connected, I make calls, listen to music and perform navigation. I also set up my phone before setting out so that i have quick access to the features I will need without many screen taps.

I don't text/email when driving, except if i'm using my Windows pHone, which , when connected to bluetooth, will read your texts automatically, and you can dictate a response - therefore it makes these texts completely hands free.

I am a firm believer that using a phone mounted on the dashboard for functions like these is no more dangerous than tuning the radio, or adjusting the AC, or changing CD (probably safer to switch track on a phone than to change cd manually in many cases). Also if people want to wear a wired or wirless headset and put the phone in the door or something and answer calls on the headset is fine.

I am also a firm believed that holding your phone in your hand in a call, or jamming a phone between shoulder and ear are really bad because you limit your physical ability to control the car while in a call. Texting and emailing when moving is just bad, especially on touchscreen phones when you have to give it your attention to compose a coherent message (on physical phones, you might be able to feel the keys to know what you are pressing).

Therefore, I am all for a ban on any phone use when driving that means your phone is in your hand or aginst your ear for a call, but headset use and docks should be allowed. I.e ban activities that physically impair your ability to control a car.

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 11:21 1

12. hepresearch (unregistered)

I do not text, browse, or navigate to begin with... I have, in the past, taken a phone call or two on the road, but usually via Bluetooth (navigated too when I had the Nokia E75... mmmm, loved that phone); however, I no longer use a Bluetooth-capable phone, and as the law here has now precluded anything but hands-free phone calls while driving, I simply do not use or otherwise answer my mobile phone while driving.

When driving these days, my phone stays in my pocket...

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 11:38

16. ayephoner (Posts: 850; Member since: 09 Jun 2009)

i text while driving.

i do it when in very low risk driving situations and type 1 or 2 letters at a time (or just look down once per word to situate myself when using swype).

texting requires no more distraction than countless other things people do when they drive.

the difference is that people take their eyes off the road for too long. this is because they are stupid and bad drivers.

there is already legislation for poor driving. there does not need to be legislation to limit the cause of poor driving (especially when it is nearly uninforceable)

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 12:37 4

21. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

Well, the government loves to criminalize activities, especially if there's potential for them to make revenue off of fines and such.

I can see it now...


Officer O'Shea: Yeah, we have a guy here who didn't use his turn signal when he made a right. I'm going to go check it out.

(Gets out and walks to the door)

Officer: Evening! Do you know why I pulled you over?

Kid: N-no sir!

Officer: You didn't use your turn signal back there. Little dangerous of you, don't you think?

Kid: Oh man, I knew I forgot something! I'm so sorry, officer. I'll be good, promise!

Officer: You forgot? You forgot. That's a pretty big thing to forget. You weren't... distracted, WERE YOU?

Kid: N-n-no! I swear I wasn't!

Officer: Step out of the car please. Turn around. Hands on the hood of the car. That's it. Legs apart. Good. (Pats him down). Ah ha! What is this? (Pulls cell phone out of kid's pocket)

Kid: it isn't mine, I swear! It's my friend's! He asked me to hold it for him!

Officer: a likely story. Let's go, punk. Maybe you'll sing a different tune in county lockup!

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 14:18

28. rendHELL (Posts: 304; Member since: 09 Nov 2011)

illegal possesion of cell phone....


posted on 16 Dec 2011, 11:40 1

17. nak1017 (Posts: 328; Member since: 08 Jan 2010)

This whole "banning cellphone use in a car" thing is getting way out of hand!
This is an attention grabbing ploy, pure and simple.

Firstly, I understand the ban on TXTing and it makes perfect sense, but to say all activities using a cell phone are of enough distraction to cause an greatly increased risk is just wrong. Why not go after women putting on make-up, people eating, people screwing around with the radio, etc? It's all a distraction and anything that takes your eyes off the road falls under this. So are we going to ban those next?

Secondly, I would love to see the proof and data that unequivocally shows that TALKING on the cell phone is distinctively more dangerous than any other of those fore-mentioned activities.

I don't know if there is some minimum reduction in highway deaths the NTSB council has to produce to keep their jobs, but this is sensationalist. nothing more. Why not just call it what it is and say they're going after distracted driving. Leave the people with the bluetooth headsets and clean driving record alone.

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 11:48

18. squallz506 (banned) (Posts: 1075; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)

i use my phone in a dock with bluetooth to stream music and navigation. its never in my hands only on the dock. not a problem at all for me.

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 12:17 1

20. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

Though it's rare, I do occasionally text while driving. Sometimes I'll call, but I have a Bluetooth for that. I also use my GPS, and sometimes I even do web browsing (though almost always when I'm waiting at a light).

And yet I don't come close to getting in accidents.

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 14:21

29. rendHELL (Posts: 304; Member since: 09 Nov 2011)

sniggly... i dont use my cellphone while driving yet i have no license to drive... and i dont have any accidents yet in my life on the road...


dont arrest me... lol...

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 12:57

23. kabukijoe (Posts: 102; Member since: 06 Mar 2010)

I use it for music once in a while and also to make calls and short texts but I make sure to be more alert and use more caution while doing so, unless I'm in a high traffic area then I typically don't fuss with it. It shouldn't be too difficult of a task to glance at your phone for just a split second then put your eyes back on the road for a couple of seconds then back again as needed. I feel it's kind of a "common sense" thing, which some people obviously lack, and they are the problem... And chances are these people are going to be more prone to causing accidents regardless of wether they are using a phone, or tuning their radio, adjusting their heat/AC, eating, drinking, or talking to somebody that is riding in the car with them; which all can be equally as distracting in my opinion.

I'm sorry but if you lack the coordination to do these things without being a hazzard on the road then you probably shouldn't have your license... And if you know that you don't have the coordination but lack the common sense to not allow yourself to get distracted by these things, then you DEFINITELY shouldn't have your license.

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 13:04

25. WirelessCon (Posts: 309; Member since: 11 May 2010)

Some people can multi-task with excellent situational awareness all of time; most people can't. Those who can't are the danger, not the device.

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 14:29

30. bolaG (Posts: 468; Member since: 15 Aug 2011)

I do what I got to do but I do it safer than most...cough cough..women SUV/Truck drivers :*

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 15:43

31. Penny (Posts: 1648; Member since: 04 Feb 2011)

I answer calls while driving via Bluetooth, don't make any unnecessary calls myself.

My phone allows for incoming text messages to be read aloud through bluetooth, and also to dictate texts via voice, so I can receive and send texts through bluetooth without touching my phone. Most of the time I only have it read the texts for me though, and respond after I get out of the car.

I also use navigation and music apps (though rarely) if I'm going somewhere I have never been or a long enough drive to not want to listen to the same old stuff on the radio.

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 17:29 1

33. networkdood (Posts: 6330; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)

I live in California and I can attest that these idiots in the golden state love their gas guzzling SUVs and love to text while driving - it will not change anytime soon :-(

posted on 17 Dec 2011, 12:45

44. hepresearch (unregistered)

Hahaha... I lived in the San Jose area of CA for 2 years, myself, as a missionary for my church... if these good folks didn't have a high 6-figure income, or above, and live in million-dollar houses (which were about the same size as the 1-floor brick rancher I live in here in PA, sadly), then they subsisted in a one-bedroom apartment on a high five-figure or low six-figure income. There was a cart pusher at the local grocery store who made over $30,000 a year and couldn't afford NOT to live with his parents, but he could definitely afford the nice car and a nice mobile phone (circa 2002... before they were popular anywhere else I had ever been before). Even in my best-paying former-employment I never made more than $50,000 a year. The problem was not how high their income was, it was how equally high the cost of living was there. I don't know if it is still that way since the "bubble burst" and all that, and I haven't been there since 2002, but the lifestyle out there sure seems to contribute to the gas-guzzling-SUV texting-while-driving attitude.

posted on 16 Dec 2011, 23:16

36. techaman (unregistered)

This is stupid some people just can't drive that's a given yet they have the license. Old people are allowed to drive and they can't react fast enough to stop from crashing or pressing the wrong peddle bit they don't stop them why should they stop cell phone users because of it. That's stupid because most people get to involved with the call no matter if its hands free or built in to the car. Cop cars lights cause accidents all the time they distract people. I am an AC tech I use phone for new calls and navigation device never had accident or even close on my part its only a few people that can't do it its like having a screaming child in the car deal with it or u may crash. Police have and use laptops when they are behind u why are they special.

posted on 17 Dec 2011, 00:50

37. johnriii (Posts: 238; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)

I only use my phone for calls, inbound and out. I make calls out using vlingo, so I don't have to dial the number. its no more distracting to me than listening to a CD or sports talk show. texting is something i will never do while driving. those of you who say you do it without, "any problems" have just been lucky. all it takes is a small jerk of the wheel at 40-50 mph to cause a multi car accident. I don't even read incoming text msgs while driving, it's just not worth it.

posted on 17 Dec 2011, 07:38

40. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

I use my phone all the time while im in the car. Its called voice actions. Get used to them.
"text bob: tell him to get over to the office immediately"
"text wife: office meeting is running late, be home after dinner"
"search for: ATM machines"
"navigate to: the closest strip club"

if you have an android phone or an i4s, there is no reason to be using the keyboard when you drive. use your phone for its intended purposes.

posted on 17 Dec 2011, 12:00

43. Slammer (Posts: 1515; Member since: 03 Jun 2010)

I allowed this article to simmer for a day to see if the poll results would balance out. I am greatly disappointed that they did not.

It is very alarming to see that drivers are "Doing whatever they want" with a phone while driving.

I have seen too many times in the last two years, on how texting and driving can affect one's life. I lost a Niece in one incident, while in two other incidents, my son was seriously injured by another driver texting and driving. The last incident is that my next-door neighbor's daughter is still on life support from an accident two weeks ago caused by this same kind of irresponsibility.

Why is it that individuals feel that "This would never happen with me because I'm a good driver and have complete control"?

Really? Did these other drivers that impacted mine and my next-door neighbor's lives, have the same opinion?

While I support Bluetooth use only, everything short of it should be banned.

John B.

posted on 17 Dec 2011, 20:03

46. ChafedBanana (Posts: 381; Member since: 20 Sep 2011)

I Facebook and stuff all the time but only when I'm at red lights. Oooh, gotta go. The light's turning green!

posted on 18 Dec 2011, 09:46

48. QWIKSTRIKE (Posts: 1130; Member since: 09 Mar 2010)

I am totally in awe at the choices you have for me to check off. I use my phone for talking with a blue tooth, and for directions with the navigation. Why didn't you have multiple or both choices.

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