On Jan. 19, 2004. David Teater’s 12-year-old son, Joseph, was killed in a traffic accident. The driver was distracted by a cell-phone conversation and drove through a red light.
A study estimates that 636,000 traffic accidents each year – about 6 percent of all accidents – are caused by drivers using their cell phones, resulting in an estimated 2,600 deaths. The number is, of course, increasing.
Studies also show that it doesn’t really matter if you use a handheld cell phone or hands-free devices. Your head is in the call. And that is what matters. If fact, as a driver you are just as impaired as you are when intoxicated at a blood-alcohol limit of 0.08 percent.
Still many many governments are reluctant to pass restrictions because they say there isn’t enough research. Or they say that other distractions, such as reaching for the glove compartment, changing the radio station or putting on makeup, also cause accidents. Should they ban that as well?
And to a point they are right, don’t you think? The whole idea with a drivers license is that you, when licensed, are suppose to be responsible and capable of making the right decisions behind the wheel.
But, why then, do we have laws against alcohol and drugs? And why do so many people talk on the phone while driving? We are suppose to be intelligent people, aren’t we?
If driving while talking on a cell phone really is as bad as or maybe worse than driving drunk (which studies at the Utah University has shown), can that be accepted and tolerated?
I, for one, do as I do when I fly. I turn mine off. Even if it is just a short ride.