The issue of driving while talking on a cell phone has two distinct sides, and no matter which side of that issue you are on, if you spend much time in a car you see this every day. We’ve all heard the stories of fatal car accidents caused by drivers on cell phones. Studies have indicated that talking on a phone while driving impacts the driver’s reaction time in a manner similar to intoxication.
Many major cities in the U.S. ban driving while talking, although most of those allow the use of headsets or other hands-free solutions. Personally I think it’s the lack of concentration on driving due to the phone conversation as much as holding a handset, so I’m not sure that headsets make that much difference. My own city of Houston has ordinances that ban the use of phones while driving in school zones which seems like a good thing.
New York City recently had a one-day clamp-down on driving while using a phone and issued over 9,000 citations to drivers talking on phones. That number is amazing even for a large city like NYC, and it indicates the law is not impacting the practice enough. Another statistic that I find amazing is that over 195,000 citations were issued in NYC in 2008. That plainly shows that the $120 fine is not a big deterrent to those who talk and drive. Maybe it’s time to force the use of gadgets that prevent phone calls in cars? These are typically designed for teen drivers but they’re not the only ones doing all the texting or talking.