Monday, December 17, 2007

Unsafe at any conversation

The danger of text messaging while driving ...

"The most dangerous toy that a teen could play with does not contain lead paint. However, it does contain a lithium battery, wireless capabilities and the ability to distract the user for hours. Since 1991, when the first modern cell phone was created by a company in Finland, these mobile devices have steadily increased in popularity. Nearly 16 million teens in the U.S. have cell phones, according to NOP World Technology, and this ever- increasing statistic shows no sign of slowing down.

Text messaging has spread wildly among the teenage population and is starting to become second fiddle to the prolonged telephone conversations of yesteryear. Nevertheless, the danger of this seemingly harmless device significantly increases when it is used in a different setting: while driving.

A licensed teen faces many dangers on the road. Drunken drivers, various obstacles and speeding cars can provide a new source of anxiety in the mind of any teen. However, a teen can multiply the danger of driving simply by using a cell phone in the process.

... A study conducted by the University of Utah, published in the summer 2006 issue of Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, concludes that talking on a cell phone while driving is as dangerous as driving drunk, even if the phone is a hands-free model. It is not surprising that this parallel is made between drunken driving and cell phone usage while driving. While alcohol-related accidents are far more catastrophic than cell-phone related ones, both conditions can cause accidents. According to the same journal, cell phone usage causes 2,600 deaths and 330,000 injuries in a year in the U.S. Young drivers are especially at risk for accidents while driving. Not only does their driving inexperience raise their chance of an accident, but cell phone usage only increases this risk.

Text messaging between cars, for example, was cited as the possible cause for an accident last summer near Waterloo that killed five teenagers. That incident has led to the introduction of a bill in the New York Legislature to outlaw text messaging while motorists are driving."    (Continued via Star-Gazette)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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