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Cellular Phone Usage while Driving - Essay Example

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Cellular Phone Usage while Driving

The real issue is whether such use in significantly more distracting than other tasks that the public as a whole currently regard as 'acceptable.'"
The following evidence will explore previous research on accidents that can be attributed to cellular phone usage while operating a motor vehicle, followed by claims supporting or disparaging that cellular phone usage is more distracting-and therefore more susceptible to legislation-than common tasks, such as putting on makeup, talking to passengers, and changing the radio station.
Driving is a highly complex skill that requires the continual integration of interdependent perceptual, motor, and cognitive processes (Salvucci & Macuga, 2001). In a study examining three thousand drivers, half of which used cell phones while driving and half of which did not, researchers used a logistic regression model to examine age, relative cell phone usage, accident exposure and alcohol-related incidences to compare the contributing factors of police-reported collisions involving the users and "nonusers" in the sample (Wilson et. al 2003). The findings showed that drivers observed using cell phones had a higher risk of an at-fault crash than did the "nonusers," with a higher proportion of rear-end collisions, although there was no apparent effect on "inattention" violations (Wilson et al 2003).
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A study published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that approximately 25-30 percent of the injuries caused by car crashes were due to driver distraction (Utter, 2001 cited by Tseng, Nguyen, Liebowitz, & Agresti, 2005). Differences between drivers who used cell phones and nonusers in unsafe driving behaviors and attitudes were also examined, and target groups for intervention efforts against talking on a cell phone while driving are suggested. With in-vehicle use of cell phones rapidly increasing, the safety of young drivers, who represent 14% of licensed drivers but 26% of drivers involved in fatal crashes, may be disproportionately threatened (Seo, and Torabi 2004). The authors used a questionnaire to examine the association between in-vehicle cell-phone use and accidents or near-accidents among 1,291 conveniently recruited college students in 4 states (Seo, and Torabi 2004). Of the 1,185 respondents who were drivers, 87% had a cell phone, and 86% of the cell-phone owners reported talking while driving at least occasionally, and 762 reported accidents or near-accidents, 21% involved at least 1 of the drivers talking while driving states (Seo, and Torabi 2004). Chi-square tests and logistic regression analyses showed that the frequency, not the duration, of drivers talking while driving was related to experiencing accidents or near-accidents (Seo, and Torabi 2004).
Research reiterates that the use of cellular phones while driving has been established as the major cause of driver inattention. The Harvard Center for Risk Analysis found that use of cell phones while driving caused 330,000 moderate to severe injuries and approximately 2,600 deaths each year (Sundeen, 2003 cited by ...Show more

Summary

Driving distraction has been a focus of study since the early1900's when researchers examined the 'hypnotic effect' of windshield wipers (Curry 2002). The concept of safety and 'paying attention' then is not a new concept, it has been a focus of research since the use of vehicles began…
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