Using a mobile while driving 'worse than drink or drugs'

The Government are considering introducing tougher penalties for using a mobile phone while you drive after research showed that it slowed reactions more than drink or drugs, The Sunday Times (£) reports.

A study by the Transport Research Laboratory found that a driver’s reaction time slowed by 46% when they made a call on a mobile, compared with 37% when texting and 27% during hands-free calls.

It also found that reaction times reduced by 13% for those on the drink-drive limit of 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood and 21% for those who had used cannabis.

I knew that they were just about as bad but I didn’t know that using a mobile device was worse. From what I understand, if you have a hands free set, it’s legal and safe. I know my mom uses a Bluetooth wireless headset for her cell phone when she’s driving.

I hope they do get tougher. It is so annoying to be the near victim of such people on an almost daily basis. They drift across lanes, make turns up the wrong lanes, are driving too fast or slow, run lights and stop signs, you name it. It should be entirely against the law across this nation. There is no reason for people to be on these stupid phones and devices while driving.

I say fines should be heavy and they should lose their phone on the spot. If they cause an accident they should land up in jail, lose the phone or device and their right to drive for 5 - 10 years. But we don’t even handle drunk driving that well, so we are probably stuck with the added dangers caused by technology addicts.

Christians should view this activity as a mortal sin.

I agree. It is wrong to use a cell phone while driving unless you have a hands free device so that way you can concentrate on your driving.


They do need to get tougher with enforcement. I believe even the “hands free” devices need to be banned. Nothing should be interferring with your concentration when you are behind the wheel of a car. You need your full attention on the road to what is happening around you.

Many people think the same as you, but a recent study by AAA showed that hands-free devices are statistically not safer than handheld phones. It is not the physical distraction of holding a phone that is dangerous, it is the cognitive distraction. If one is concentrating on a conversation, one is NOT concentrating on driving. That’s the danger, not that your hand is off the wheel.

Should they ban car radios as well? What about eating while driving? What about talking while driving?

And how does one determine that a “hands free” device is in use? Just because your lips are moving does not mean you are using a mobile phone.

Many people also eat in their cars while driving. I do that sometimes. But I wouldn’t ever talk on the cell phone while driving. I feel like they’re a bit different in terms of how great the distraction is. I’ve noticed a lot of women seem to talk on the cell phone while driving (that is, the people I’ve noticed doing this are 99% women).

Then clearly we need a law against thinking about anything but driving while driving. No more radio. No more audiobooks. No more playing ‘count the license plates’ or Slug-Bug. And definitely, no more talking!

If its so much more dangerous, why is it not an arrestable offense?

I don’t know about this.

I talk with my mom frequently while driving, on speaker phone with my phone in the side car door. If I have to concentrate on something, I do that and pause what I’m talking about, and my mom understands. It can also help keep me awake and alert at night when driving, which is part of the reason I do it.

Now, I can’t really compare to handheld driving, since I use a stick shift, but I will say that trying to manage holding a phone (or anything else) while trying to drive screws up my ability to focus on the road, period. But it also makes it nearly impossible for me to drive, as I need two arms and a leg to work my car. Merely talking to someone on speaker phone has never affected my ability to focus nor my reaction times. Neither has having a passenger that I’m engaging either. The trick is just recognizing that whatever is on the road is more important than your conversation, which people naturally do with a passenger but for some reason don’t on the phone. I’d imagine the studies probably involve people who make business calls or other calls that they need to focus on. People need to use prudential judgment and not make calls while driving that they HAVE to focus on.

Interesting. I did not realize that. I guess based on that study I would have to say that even hands free wireless devices should be banned for drivers who are out driving then.

Yes, they really should be, but Id imagine they are not solely because of the large cell phone industry…after all, they have alot of pull and probably fight tooth and nail against any laws created to limit someones ability to use their cell phones. I imagine this is also the reason why cigarettes are still legal, among many other dangerous things, the companies that make them are making alot of money from them and will spend millions on lawyers to make sure it continues!

Im really surprised the cell phone industry didnt fight the no texting when driving law more aggressively, but maybe they have another ‘legal plan’ to get rid of this law in the near future.

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