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Is It Dangerous to Use a Cell Phone While Driving?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 23, 2024
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Cell phones can be life-saving communication tools to have ready in a vehicle in case of emergency. However, actually using a cell phone while driving may be life threatening. Many different studies have shown that when drivers use a phone while driving, it can be very dangerous. At some point during the use of a cell phone, a driver's eyes are bound to be distracted from the road.

Studies have shown that new drivers are especially prone to have an accident when they use a cell phone while driving. The reasoning for this is that new drivers have less experience in focusing on driving during distractions. Also, several studies done on teen drivers found that many teens send text messages while driving. Since text messaging involves the hands and the eyes, this is thought to be more distracting and dangerous than when drivers talk a cell phone.

All drivers, not just teens or other new drivers, who use a cell phone while driving are said by studies to be at least four times more likely to have an accident than drivers who don't use a phone behind the wheel. Such studies have inspired many countries, including the United States, to have at least some bans on hand-held cell phone use while driving. However, many people feel that these restrictions are not enough because studies have also shown that hand-held cell phones are just a part of the problem.

Hands-free models were still found in many studies to distract the driver even though he or she had both hands on the wheel. In some studies, drivers themselves have admitted that they've become distracted emotionally when they use any type of cell phone while driving. When driver concentration is impaired, the focus is away from the road and from operating the vehicle at maximum efficiency. Also, there could be a false sense of hope if people think they are being safe because they're using a hands-free model while driving.

Some companies have enacted policies for their employees that state that an employee must not use a cell phone while driving, but must always pull over and stop the vehicle safely before using the phone. Some studies have shown that talking on a cell phone while driving is actually just as dangerous as driving drunk. Both factors can impair concentration as well as reaction time to other vehicles or problems on the road. If a cell phone is used in crawling traffic such as a traffic jam, it is not as likely to cause danger as when a driver uses a cell phone at even moderate speeds or on twisting and turning roads.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon321119 — On Feb 21, 2013

I think it should not be allowed, as it's such a risk.

By amypollick — On Feb 13, 2012

The Mythbusters did an experiment on the issue of cell phone calls while driving being equivalent to driving drunk. They proved pretty conclusively this is the case. Many studies have shown that a driver on a cell phone for more than about two minutes is impaired to at least a .10 alcohol level, which is over the limit in most U.S. states. Their findings are all over the Internet, and easily researched.

Bottom line: driving while using a cell for any length of time is courting disaster.

By anon210003 — On Aug 29, 2011

Of course, it is very dangerous to make phone calls when driving.you know that several days ago happened a car accident because of a simple call. It is so terrible.

By anon59983 — On Jan 11, 2010

I have heard that there is "research" demonstrating that using a cell phone and driving is comparable to driving under the influence of alcohol. I've never found a source and am interested. Can anyone direct me to it?

By anon59778 — On Jan 10, 2010

Here in CT, driving while using a cell phone is a $100 ticket. YET, Police are exempt! What? I guess the legislature gave them "special non-distractable" powers.

I have seen on more than one occasion a cruiser glide right through a red traffic light, and yes, the cop was chatting away on a cell phone.

By anon58999 — On Jan 05, 2010

Misinterpreting research statistics is even more dangerous anon47290. The research is clear. Talking on a cell while driving makes the driver 4 times as likely to have an accident. The same accident rate as a drunk driver. It has nothing to do with being a "poor driver".

The great majority of drunk drivers do not have accidents either. But we legislate against it because it is a known and avoidable danger for everyone on the road.

Most people running a stop sign will not have an accident. With your reasoning we are punishing the "innocent majority". How silly.

By anon47290 — On Oct 03, 2009

Research statistics can be deceiving. The same statistics also reveal that most drivers who use a cell phone and drive simultaneously can do so without incident. Don't punish the innocent majority with restrictions because a certain few have used their cell phones as an excuse to cover up the fact that they are poor drivers who are at higher risk for an accident anyway. "Car phones" and CB radios have been around for years. Emergency vehicles have their two way radios. Now, I frequently see police using a cellular and driving simultaneously. If this is such a hazard to everyone, they should be the first to institute a ban in their own ranks. Yet, the same laws that restrict us using one would make them exempt; as if they do not get distracted.

By AuthorSheriC — On Dec 20, 2008

Thanks for your comment, ivanka. I agree as taking your focus off of the road -- and hand off the wheel -- for even a quick moment could result in an accident or near accident.

By ivanka — On Dec 12, 2008

I think while driving, one should not multi task, no matter how good a driver one is. In California it is not permitted to talk on the hand held cell phone while driving.

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