Cell Phone Use while Driving


Technological developments have become constant, and the mostimportant has been the continuous development of cell phones. Almostevery individual in America has a cell phone, or access to one.Historically, using a cell phone was restricted to the wealthy.Conversely, usage patterns changed and are changing as the price ofhaving a cell phone continues to decline significantly. A differentfactor attributed to the widespread use of cell phones is theirportability. They are easy to carry anywhere and by anyone. A commontrend has been the increasing use of cell phones by drivers. Talkingon the phone and driving at the same time is highly likely to resultin accidents. On the other hand, is the supposition that it is theright of drivers to decide to or not to use mobile phones and it isdoes not always cause risks. This prompts the argument on if tooutlaw or permit drivers use mobile devices while driving.

Supporting Argument for Ban

Any action, which diverts the drivers’ concentration from thefundamental function of driving, has the capability of causingcompromise to safety and enhancing the possibility of crashing. Asthe number of people using cell phones progresses to increase, theroad safety community is becoming progressively perceptive of thepossibility for the devices to distract drivers, while at the sametime compromising safety. Research demonstrates that drivers thatsend messages when driving have a 23 times greater likelihood ofgetting into an accident, compared to those that avoid the behavior(CAA 1). Notably, 84% of accidents occurring in Americabecause of distracted driving have been closely linked toinattentiveness, which derives from concentrating on one activity(CAA 1). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administrationnotes 80% of collisions have a link to cell phone distraction, anddrivers that are distracted have a 3 times higher chance of gettinginto a crash (CAA 1).

Cell phone use by drivers distracts them in three manners. This isvisually, cognitively and physically. When a driver receives a textmessage, they have to focus their eyes on the message for some time.This could be longer if the driver decides to respond to the message.Hence, the drivers’ stops looking ahead, behind or sideways toensure that they are driving in the right manner. Supposing apedestrian was crossing the road just before the text message wassent, the driver may not have had time to see and could end uphitting the pedestrian. Another likelihood is that the driver has ahigher chance of ignoring road rules, like observing traffic lightsand hazards signs. They might progress to drive even in cases whenthey are supposed to stop. Studies confirm that phone dialing hasgrave aftermaths for driving performance. According to Brace, Youngand Regan (8), it becomes improbable for drivers to identify forwardor peripheral happenings. Drivers spent lesser time observing theroadway or their speedometer, when focusing on dialing numbers.

When picking a phone, writing a message or even checking mail, thehands of the driver are not on the steering wheel, which means theyare hands-off driving, hence physically distracted (Brace, Young andRegan 11). It poses danger to the driver, other drivers andpassengers because of poor positioning of the vehicle on the road. Inmost instances, the driver will talk for long hours, or text or anyother cell phone use. This mainly applies to hand held devices, whichhave to be held when communicating, or using. However, it alsoapplies to instances when the driver is using their device to searchsomething. For instance direction to somewhere they are going. Theyhave to key in the direction they want meaning either hands are noton the steering wheel. In physical distraction, in addition toimpairing positioning, holding a conversation impairs the driver’scapability of maintaining speed.

Cognitive distraction happens when the driver takes their mind awayfrom driving. Due to the concentration needed in answering a call,texting or checking mail, momentary loss of focus on the road happens(Brace, Young and Regan 14). For instance, supposing a driverreceives bad news like someone close passing away, the driver may getshocked and forget they were driving, possibly hitting the driver infront, or crashing into anything because they instantly stopconcentrating on driving. Cognitive distraction largely arises fromtime that is spent when using the device. If the driver is engaged ina long conversation, they may end up forgetting that they weredriving. As a result, stop concentrating on the road and fully focuson the conversation. This is risky especially in roads where they aremany vehicles on the road. In cognitive distraction, it does notmatter if the driver is using a hand-held phone, or hands-freedevice. This is because the main distraction is on hearing andconcentrating. For instance, if a driver is using a hands-free deviceand is totally engaged in a conversation, the possibility of hearinganother car hooting, or observing a hazard sign reduces.

Drivers that use cell phones become impaired in the similar manner asthose that driven when intoxicated. Hands-free devices have the samenegative impact as hand-held phones. Drivers that communicate anddrive at the same time have 9% likelihood to slowly press the brakes,have a 24% higher deviation to follow distance because concentrationis divided amid driving and using the phone, in addition to having a19% slower ability to continue driving under normal speed afterpressing the brakes (Sturnquist31). Such individuals despite being sober will most possiblycrash or get into an accident like drunk drivers. In the similarmanner, drunk drivers drive slowly, but recklessly. In addition isthat they will brake just seconds away prior to an accidenthappening, which in most cases does not help stop a collision. Suchis the case for drivers using mobile devices, by the time theyrealize that they are about to cause an accident or crash, it is toolate.

Argument against Ban

Using cell phones and at the same time, driving has many demerits.Conversely, it is important to be connected to a cell phoneespecially in cases of an emergency. Numerous scenarios can occurwhen one is driving. For instance, one could detect a car trailingthem, which may result in carjacking or robbery. At the moment,having a cell phone is crucial in ensuring that the driver calls forhelp. The motorist can call emergency numbers and provide properdetails of their location and danger, which results in saving a life.Police responding to the emergency call will also need to call backand ensure that the driver is still safe, while reassuring that theywill provide help. Another emergency is that the motorists might belost and need clarification on direction (Lissy et al 40). Callingreduces the stress and worry of getting lost for the motorists.Another illustration is if roads become impassable and a driver isstill driving. Family members can use the cell phone to communicateof the danger such as heavy rainfall.

When motorists use mobile devices, they drive at a slower pace, whichmeans cell phone use reduces the possibility of speeding. Whenmotorists are getting late, for work or other important engagements,they are likely to speed to arrive at the destination fast. Thedriver can avoid speeding by using the mobile device to call andinform that they will arrive at work late, thus reducing therequirement for speeding (Lissy et al 41). Notably, when using cellphones, drivers slow down to concentrate on both driving and usingthe device. Driving at a slow rate is less hazardous. This is becausewhen driving slowly it will be easier for the driver to stop the carin case they suddenly detected an accident, hazard or possiblecollision. The fact that drivers slow down implies they drive at apace, which makes it possible to control the vehicle and at the sametime maintain their cell phone use.


It is apparent that the cons arising from cell phone use by driversis higher when compared to the benefits. Hence, resulting in theconclusion that motorists must be banned from employing their mobiledevices while driving. Research shows that collision and crashing ishigher when drivers use cell phones. This is because the motoristsare physically, cognitively and visually impaired. It is not possibleto talk on the phone and observe traffic rules, remain focused orobserve hazards. Important to note is that the motorist does notmerely cause peril to themselves, but other drivers, passengers aswell as pedestrians.

Works Cited

Lissy, Karen S., Cohen, Joshua T., Park, Mary Y and Graham, John D.Cellular phone use while driving: Risks and benefits. HarvardCenter for Risk Analysis, (2000): 2-25.

Brace, Charlotte L., Young, Kristie L and Regan, Michael A. Analysisif the literature: The use of mobile phones while driving. AccidentResearch Center, (2007): 1-39.

Sturnquist, Daniel M.&nbspMobilePhones and Driving. NewYork: Novinka Books, 2006. Print.

CAA. Distracted Driving Statistics, (2015): 1-1.