You could be living anywhere from Toronto to Los Angeles, with the majority of cities having one sort of law or another preventing the use of handheld devices while driving. And now, a safety group wants to take things one step further by outright banning cell “conversations” regardless of any hands-free device used. You can thank a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health, “distracted driving fatalities caused by cell phone use and texting.” According to this study, we are to believe that an increase of 28% between 2005 and 2008 is because of cell phone usage. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), drivers 20 years and younger tend to be the most distracted while driving, but those aged 30 to 39 are most likely to be found using a cell phone while driving.
These reports show that it’s not the handheld-ness that causes accidents, it’s the distraction that drivers have when engaged in cell phone activities. I can drive just fine with one hand on the wheel (and the other on my phone), but conversing is what takes my attention away from the road. Do I endorse such a ban? Intellectually, I think I should since it could help save lives. But I still want to be able to chat, text, and Twitter while driving, that may be selfish, but new technologies are allowing for this to take place by simple voice commands. And this new ban would ruin those technologies and make about as much sense as not allowing drivers to speak with passengers in the vehicle, because really, you’re just having another conversation.