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

Posted: , 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!


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