Hand-held Ban Useless?


49Drivers are always told to keep their eyes on the road. Getting distracted, even by seconds, can cause car crashes or other accidents and that’s a common fact. Another fact is that distraction can come from our best buddy devices: the hand-held’s. Cellular phones and hand-held devices play an important part of our lives. They bridge communication gaps, they provide timely messages and they provide entertainment. However, why are they the deadliest distractions on the roads?

Bans on texting and talking while driving are starting to crawl in many states in the country as a response to preventing car crashes. Texting is more common than talking on the phone. The driver would tend to divide his or her time holding the wheel and typing on their phones. This will also force the driver to keep their eyes off the road a bit to glance at their phone screen, leaving a hand on the wheel and the eyes and the other hand on the phone.

Talking on the phone divides the driver’s concentration. Continuously talking on the phone and hearing the caller on other line are sometimes absorbing most of the concentration. This can cause the driver to be absent minded especially when braking.

With the increasing awareness of using cellular phones or hand-held devices while driving, several crash avoidance points have been made. Some say that phones must be blocked so drivers won’t be forced to touch or even look at them while they’re on the road. This has been initiated already since several blocking softwares have already been put on shelves. The only downside is these softwares only apply to GPS-smartphones and not on commonly available cellular phones. Others believe that putting signs or posters on the road that alerts every driver to not use their phones while driving are very effective. If drivers see the sign they will automatically divert their full attention on the road.

States are also starting to implement the ban on cellular use while driving while other states have not yet adopted the ban. The former states hope that the bans could reduce the frequency of car crashes. However, Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) found out that collision insurance claim rates before and after the bans have not changed. The patterns of crash remained and there wasn’t any decrease in car crashes. Researchers point out several possible reasons. First, the bans aren’t that well known so there are still millions of people using their hand-held’s while driving. Second, in some states the ban is not really implemented.

Though the research turned out to be indifferent with the ban, many states are adding to the ban advocate group. Researchers hope that the significant increase of hand-held use while driving could already produce positive results.