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In general, driver distraction is one of the leading causes of traffic incidents. Using and talking on a cellular phone requires a large amount of attention and is a contributing factor to incidents. However, using a cellular telephone is one of many distractions a driver faces. In other words, concern about driver distraction should not be limited to cellular telephones.
Skills needed by a driver include:
|Visual (Seeing)|| |
|Auditory (Listening)|| |
|Biomechanical ('Doing', Activity, Hand-eye coordination)|| |
|Cognitive (Thinking)|| |
To use a cellular telephone, the operator also needs all of these skills:
It is not known how much distraction a driver can "handle" before he or she loses focus on the road. We probably have all seen examples of activities that can distract drivers such as:
The potential for injury to employees or bystanders, and property damage to company or other vehicles should be a concern for employers. In the United States, companies themselves have been involved in court cases involving motor vehicle incidents related to cell phone usage because the employer allowed or encouraged employees to conduct business from the vehicle.
Most importantly, pay attention. Incidents occur because drivers were not aware of the conditions around them. Be aware and know that distractions can come from many sources at any time.
In Canada, all provinces and territories (except Nunavut) currently have legislation which specifically bans or restricts using hand-held cellular phones or other similar devices while driving. In all cases, drivers who cause incidents or who are driving unsafely while using a cell phone or device can be charged with offences such as dangerous driving, careless driving, and criminal negligence causing death or injury. Calling 911 in an emergency is generally allowed, but do so from a safe area.
Always check with the local, provincial, state or country regulations.