“Talking and listening are such
complicated tasks, especially if you’re thinking ahead to what you’re
going to say,” Ishigami states. “The conversation is what takes all of
Lack of awareness is especially unsafe
when the traffic is heavy, vehicles are merging or an emergency occurs.
One investigation found that cell phone use increases the risk of an
accident fourfold, and it made no difference whether it was hands-free
Studies revealed that when motorists are
holding a cell phone, they sometimes compensate by driving slower or
pulling over to finish the conversation. With hands-free phones,
however, there is a tendency to be overconfident and not slow down.
Drivers neglect to comprehend that unless they stay connected to an
alert brain, their hands are useless in avoiding an accident.
Cell phone use while driving is chancy
behavior, although it seems shortsighted to outlaw hand-held devices,
while permitting hands-free use. Ishigami believes we should follow the
extreme example of India, the only country that has banned all cell
phone use while operating a motor vehicle. For your safety and the
well-being of others on the road, give your driving the full attention
Dr. Graceffo is a retired psychiatrist and nationally ranked distance runner. His column appears weekly in The New Times.