Action urged to deal with handheld phone use in cars

Action urged to deal with handheld phone use in cars
Strong action is urged to tackle the growing problem of handheld phone use and texting while driving, according to a viewpoint published in the March 6 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

(HealthDay)—Strong action is urged to tackle the growing problem of handheld phone use and texting while driving, according to a viewpoint published in the March 6 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Noting that from 2005 to 2009 there was a 22 percent increase in fatalities associated with , Jeffrey H. Coben, M.D., and Motao Zhu, M.D., Ph.D., from West Virginia University in Morgantown, examined the educational and legislative efforts to reduce handheld phone use and texting while driving.

The authors note that the likelihood of a safety-critical event is six times higher for drivers dialing a cell phone and 23 times higher for those texting compared with drivers not using cell phones while driving. Despite legislation banning and restricting cell phone use and texting while driving, in a nationwide survey, 40 percent of respondents reported talking on the phone, and 13 percent reported texting while driving. Educational efforts, while important, are unlikely to affect behavioral change. Legislation is unlikely to be a deterrent while law enforcement personnel do not enforce it. Technological solutions are suggested to prevent handheld devices from being operable when a car is in motion. The has issued nonbinding guidelines, which are unlikely to have a real effect on the problem.

"Strong and courageous action is needed to effectively deal with the problem of cell phone use while driving. Education, legislation, and voluntary guidelines are insufficient," the authors write. "In this era of smartphones and , it is time to be smarter about keeping them apart from one another."


Explore further

US drivers see texting risks but still do it: survey

More information: Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)

Health News Copyright © 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Citation: Action urged to deal with handheld phone use in cars (2013, March 7) retrieved 22 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-03-action-urged-handheld-cars.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
0 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Mar 07, 2013
We need a mandatory and retroactive device to put in cars that disables cell phones when the engine is running. It's fairly obvious by now that there are too many stupid people who WILL text while driving no matter what laws are passed.

Mar 07, 2013
No amount of legislative action or technology can take the place of personal responsibility. As a culture, we abhore accountability. Calling phones and texting while driving a "distraction" underscores this point. Texting is not a distraction, on the contrary, it it is willful, criminal negligence illuminating a complete disregard for the safety of those around the culprit. Dr. Spock was just wrong and this is yet another example of the coddling the Nanny State has pursued to free us of the burden of personal responsibility.

Mar 08, 2013
The evidence is obvious.

Americans simply do not care about the lives, health, safety, or property of other Americans.

Cigarette smoke-ok
Alcohol-ok
Careless driving re phones-ok

Anything which can increase the risk of disease or injury to your neighbor, that is what Americans will do, especially while driving or in a public place.

Technological solutions are suggested to prevent handheld devices from being operable when a car is in motion.


The 4th amendment probably makes it illegal to do that.

We need a mandatory and retroactive device to put in cars that disables cell phones when the engine is running


That would be unsafe. One of the practical benefits of cell phones is their use in an emergency to save life. If a person needed to make a phone call from a wrecked vehicle they wouldn't be able to.

So yet again, legislation to stop the careless and the evil produce a situation where the good people can't use their technology even for the best reasons.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more