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Christian Counseling - The Hard Realities of Cell Phone Use and Driving

One-third of all nationwide traffic accidents are the result of cell phone use while driving. If that is not sobering enough, consider that cell phone use and driving is similar to drinking and driving regarding impairment of attention. Perhaps surprising to some is hands-free cell phones are just as distracting as hand-held. Add to those research outcomes another study that showed people cannot really multitask, despite what they think. In reality, the brain focuses on one primary activity at a time. Phone talk results in a decreased ability to perceive and process external information, such as traffic. The studies also showed that drivers' patterns of speech are different when they are talking on the phone and when talking with a passenger. Perhaps because the passenger can see what's happening with the traffic it seems permissible for drivers to temporarily slow down their speech or temporarily terminate it to respond to traffic.1 

If the trend of research continues to move in a similar direction, it seems inevitable that in the not too distant future most states will pass laws prohibiting phone talk while driving. The question is, Why wait? If one believes the mounting evidence, why put oneself, loved ones and even strangers at risk? That is, unless a person thinks he or she is the exception--can multitask and an accident won't happen to him. Or perhaps a person feels she can't stop herself (one way to describe addiction).

What do you think? Are you willing to volunteer and join the 20% of people who do not phone talk and drive? I just did.

1. Miller, Michael Craig, M.D. Harvard Mental Health Newsletter. Why Cell Phone Conversations Distract Drivers. September, 2010: Vol. 27, No. 3, p. 7.

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