The Human Factor: The Real Danger Of Cell Phones

Apr 29, 2013

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Many states have either outlawed or about to outlaw the use of cell phones while driving. But the real dangers of cell phone use while driving are not as obvious as they may seem.

The real danger lies in how the human mind functions.

Oftentimes individuals will explain that they use a “hands-free” headset or in car Bluetooth system. Many times people think that this resolves distraction issues because they believe that it’s the physical interaction with the device itself that causes the problem.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Our decision making requires separate visual and auditory sub-systems. So, the problem isn’t the physical interaction with the cell phone itself, it’s actually the conversation you’re having with another person. Your conversation takes away from your ability to process visual information making it less likely for you to see potential dangers and react quickly enough to prevent an accident.

We have probably all heard that driving while talking on a cell phone is the equivalent of driving while drunk and it’s true. As you might imagine texting is even worse because you often aren’t even looking at the road.

All of this suggests that this common occurrence is more dangerous than any of us actually think.