Using Mobile Phone While Driving Can Be Fatal

Using Mobile Phone While Driving Can Be Fatal

Once I was travelling with my friend. I was in the backseat of the car. My friend, who was driving, was next to his father in the front seat. My friend answered a call while driving. Fortunately, we did not end up in an accident, but I was surprised to see that his father was not even telling his son to refrain from using the mobile phone.

This issue is very relevant in today’s society and the threat is becoming pandemic. Nowadays, it has become very common to see people talking on cellphones while driving. Everyone knows that it has serious consequences, yet they all seem to do it. The result is that we hear about a worrying number of accidents occurring on a daily basis. I once inquired about the number of vehicles fined over the usage of a mobile from a traffic warden and he replied that more than five hundred people are fined daily for this exact reason. Those are only the people that the warden catches, while many more instances go unnoticed and the actual number of mobile users while driving is much higher than the figures stated.

The result is that people face fatal accidents on the roads. Not only do they get injured, but others also get affected. We just take it for granted and we all think that we are too smart to let it happen to us. Allow me to share the research of a professor from the University of Utah, who states that, “Motorists who talk on handheld or hands-free cellular phones are as impaired as drunken drivers.” Motorists who talk on the phone get distracted easily and are 9 percent slower to hit the brakes at the time of need. As for those who think using hands-free mobile phones are less dangerous, it should be pointed out that hands-free cellphones are just as distracting as handheld phones because the conversation itself distracts drivers from the conditions of the road.

Many people are also seen texting while driving. Do they not love themselves enough to take care of themselves? If the message or the phone-call is so important, why do people not stop their cars at a side and answer their phones or just ask the other person sitting next to them to respond to the call on their behalf or simply just wait to reach their destination and then answer the phone? The extreme situation is particularly noticeable when one is seen driving a motorbike with one hand and using their mobile phone with the other. Good Lord!

Some wardens have also been known to let the mobile users go, mostly those with hands-free cellphones, when in fact they should be penalizing them with heavy fines. It is also because of the low fines that people do not pay much heed to the instructions and continue to use their mobile phones while driving. Heavier fines and a stricter implementation of the law is a good way to start decreasing the numbers of drivers on their mobile phones.

Returning to the story of my friend, another way to stave off this terrible habit is for elders to become role-models for youngsters, teaching their children about the consequences of such actions to the safety of their families and – perhaps most importantly – leading by example. When parents do not practise what they preach, how do they expect their children to do as they say and not as they do?

Even when a mobile phone rings, the driver’s attention goes to his or her phone and the potential for a minor accident arises. Ideally, it should be in silent mode while driving.

Parents, traffic wardens, law-enforcement agencies, even drivers themselves need to fulfil their responsibilities towards the eradication of this mobile using addiction while driving. Our loss is increasing day by day. We all need to stand up to save our lives and the lives of our children, as well as protect those around us and create a safer society.

 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of CourtingTheLaw.com or any other organization with which he might be associated.

Ahmed Bilal

The writer is an organizational psychologist, Director at Compass Training and Consultancy Pvt. Ltd and part of the visiting faculty at Government College University. He tweets @Ahmed_Bilal01 and can be reached at ahmedbchauhan@gmail.com