Should I use the mobile phone when I'm driving ?!


Should I use the mobile phone when I'm driving ?!
-- Mobile cell versus driving! Mobile phones and driving safety

Use by drivers
The use of mobile phones by people who are driving has become increasingly common, either as part of their job, as in the case of delivery drivers who are calling a client, or by commuters who are chatting with a friend. While many drivers have embraced the convenience of using their cellphone while driving, some jurisdictions have made the practice against the law, such as the Canadian provinces of Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador as well as the United Kingdom, consisting of a zero-tolerance system operated in Scotland and a warning system operated in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Officials from these jurisdictions argue that using a mobile phone while driving is an impediment to vehicle operation that can increase the risk of road traffic accidents.

Studies have found vastly different relative risks (RR). Two separate studies using case-crossover analysis each calculated RR while an epidemiological cohort study found RR, when adjusted for crash-risk exposure.

A simulation study from the University of Utah Professor David Strayer compared drivers with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% to those conversing on a cell phone, and after controlling for driving difficulty and time on task, the study concluded that cell phone drivers exhibited greater impairment than intoxicated drivers. Meta-analysis by The Canadian Automobile Association and The University of Illinois[41] found that response time while using both hands-free and hand-held phones was approximately 0.5 standard deviations higher than normal driving (i.e., an average driver, while talking on a cell phone, has response times of a driver in roughly the 40th percentile).

Driving while using a hands-free device is not safer than driving while using a hand-held phone, as concluded by case-crossover studies. Even with this information, California recently passed a cell phone law that requires drivers who are 18 years of age or older to use a hands-free device while using the phone in the vehicle. Moreover, this law also restricts drivers under the age of 18 from using a mobile phone. This law goes into effect on July 1, 2008 with a $20 fine for the first offense and $50 fines for each subsequent conviction.

The consistency of increased crash risk between hands-free and hand-held phone use is at odds with legislation in over 30 countries that prohibit hand-held phone use but allow hands-free. Scientific literature is mixed on the dangers of talking on a phone versus those of talking with a passenger, with the Accident Research Unit at the University of Nottingham finding that the number of utterances was usually higher for mobile calls when compared to blindfolded and non-blindfolded passengers, but the University of Illinois meta-analysis concluding that passenger conversations were just as costly to driving performance as cell phone ones.