Is driving while using a cell phone really that dangerous?

We hear a lot about how dangerous it is to drive while talking on a cell phone.  In fact, the City of San Antonio recently passed an ordinance banning the use of hand held devices while driving.

But once you learn the facts, you really come to understand just how dangerous it is.

  • When you are talking on a cell phone, you are 4 times more likely to have an accident than when you are not.
  • 26% of all the accidents in the United States occur when at least one of the drivers is on a cell phone.
  • Over 50% of the traffic fatalities occur when one of the drivers is talking to someone or using a cell phone.

The reason this is true is because of a phenomenon called cognitive distraction.  It doesn't have anything to do with not watching the road but everything to do with the fact that your brain has a hard time multi-tasking.  It has a hard time perceiving and calculating movement when you are talking on a cell phone.

The University of Carnegie recently did a very important study, where they put people in a driving simulator and let them talk on the phone and then they took a functional MRI which actually measured the brain activity.  And they discovered that the part of you brain that measures movement and that calculates what you have to do to avoid an accident, decreases 37% when you are talking on a cell phone.  Additionally your field of vision decreases 50% even when you are staring out the windshield.  You can see 50% less.  That is why you miss your exit when you are talking on the phone, that is why you miss a stop sign, that is why you are 4 times more likely to cause an accident.

From your friends at the Packard Law Firm, stay off the cell phone when you are driving.   And if you do get in an accident, make sure you give us a call or fill out the form online.  We will be glad to help you any way we can.