Using a Mobile Phone While Driving Should Be Banned
Should drivers be prohibited from using mobile ‘phones?
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Using a mobile phone while driving is very dangerous. Physically holding a handset removes one hand...
Using a mobile phone while driving is very dangerous. Physically holding a handset removes one hand from the controls, making accidents more likely, while dialling is even worse, as it also requires the user to divert their attention away from the road. Research shows that drivers speaking on a mobile phone have much slower reactions in braking tests than non-users, and are worse even than if they have been drinking.
Clearly, using a mobile phone while driving can be dangerous in some circumstances, but equally it is not dangerous in many situations, for example while the car is at a standstill in gridlocked traffic, while waiting at traffic lights, or on a quiet road with good visibility ahead. Other things in the car can be at least as distracting, such as eating, changing tapes, retuning the radio, arguing with your spouse about directions, trying to stop children squabbling, etc. We should not introduce a law that victimises mobile phone users under all conditions, while ignoring many other causes of accidents.
Research shows very little difference between using a handheld and a hands-free mobile phone, in ter...
Research shows very little difference between using a handheld and a hands-free mobile phone, in terms of impaired concentration and worse reactions in braking tests. For some reason the brain treats a telephone conversation differently from talking to a passenger, perhaps because the passenger is also aware of possible road hazards in a way the telephone caller cannot be and so makes less demands upon the driver in terms of concentration at critical moments. In any case, voice activated technology is often unreliable, risking drivers trying to use it getting frustrated and losing concentration. It would be inconsistent to ban one sort of mobile phone while allowing the other sort, which can be just as lethal.
Hands-free mobile phone sets, with earpieces and voice-automated dialling are the answer. These allow drivers to communicate freely without taking their hands off the controls or their eyes off the road. Effectively there is no difference between talking to someone on a hands-free mobile, and holding a conversation with a passenger next to you; in fact, the latter is more dangerous as you may be tempted to turn your head to directly address the passenger.
Existing laws are inadequate; driving without due care and attention is a limited charge that can be...
Existing laws are inadequate; driving without due care and attention is a limited charge that can be very difficult to prove. In any case, every time a driver of a moving vehicle uses a mobile phone a potentially dangerous situation is created, as they are much less able to react to events around them. This justifies a specific offence being introduced.
There is no need for a specific law relating to mobile phone use; almost every country has laws against driving without due care and attention. This means that if someone is driving dangerously through inappropriate use of their mobile phone, then the police can already prosecute them. Rather than introduce a new law, the police should instead enforce the existing rules more thoroughly. This could be coupled with energetic advertising campaigns to warn people of a range of potentially dangerous driving habits.
New laws would be enforceable, as billing records will show whether a phone was in use at the time. ...
New laws would be enforceable, as billing records will show whether a phone was in use at the time. Improving camera technology may also allow the automatic detection of drivers breaking laws against mobile phone use at the wheel. In any case, just because a law is not completely enforceable, it does not follow that it should be scrapped.
Banning mobile phone use by drivers will be unenforceable, as often cases will just be a policeman’s word against a driver’s. This is especially true of hands-free phones, where accused motorists could simply claim to be singing along to the radio or talking to themselves. In any case, the widespread introduction of speed cameras in many countries, and an increased public fear of violent crime have led to the redeployment of the traffic police who would be needed to enforce such laws.
Using a mobile phone in the car is unnecessary - everyone coped without mobiles ten years ago, and l...
Using a mobile phone in the car is unnecessary - everyone coped without mobiles ten years ago, and little else about life has changed radically enough to make them indispensable, so there is no real loss of personal liberty in having your ability to communicate restricted in this way. If there is a pressing need to make a call, then drivers can always pull over and dial from a parked vehicle. The ban will also protect drivers from pressure from bosses who call them while on the road, effectively requiring their employees to risk their lives for the company.
Using mobiles on the road could improve safety, for example, by allowing delayed employees to ring in to the office rather than drive recklessly in an effort to arrive more promptly. Drivers now often use mobile phones to report accidents to the emergency services, and alert the police to dangerous driving, stray animals, unsafe loads, etc.
The state’s authority to control the actions of drivers is already accepted, for example, through sp...
The state’s authority to control the actions of drivers is already accepted, for example, through speed limits, rules against drink driving, etc. Dangerous driving meets the classic liberal test by endangering not just the individual but others, including drivers, passengers and pedestrians, and so society has a right to intervene to protect the innocent. A new law signals social unacceptability, and will send a message to drivers; the New York ban has already been highly effective.
The state has no right to interfere so blatantly in our personal liberties. Mobile phones don’t kill people, bad driving does, and simply banning the use of phones will penalise the many good drivers without removing the dangerous ones.
What do you think?