Thursday, December 22, 2011

Is it worth the risk?

Remember the blog project I did last year with three other women? Well, Froggie decided to resurrect it with me and we each got to invite another friend to join us. She invited a mutual friend (someone I met through her) and I invited a friend whose blog I really enjoy reading. So now it's Froggie, Mom of Many, Moma Rock and Merrylandgirl. Hope you enjoy the topics that we'll be exploring!

This week, Mom of Many picked the topic: NTSA says that talking on your cell phone even with a blue tooth, is as dangerous or more dangerous than driving drunk. The recommendation is to ban use of cell phones in cars. What do you think about that?

Before reading ahead, first see what everyone else had to say on this topic:
Mom of Many
Moma Rock

I first want to say that I disagree with the first part of that statement. It's basically implying that you shouldn't be talking in your car at all. What's the difference if you're talking on your phone or to someone sitting right next to you if the act of conversation is somehow impairing your ability to drive. Drunk driving impairs your vision, reaction time and ability to think. Talking to someone may be distracting, but no more than if they were in the car.

How about driving while your children are screaming in the back seat and your baby is wailing because they're hungry? Try the situation I was in the other day, when my daughter started eating her hearing aid while I was driving. I was freaked out by that more than any old phone conversation. (I pulled over and got it out, but still....) It was WAY more distracting than talking to a mature adult who can listen to reason! So maybe NTSA should ban children in the car.

Then there's the weather to consider. Poor road conditions are way more unsafe than having a conversation in the car. I was alone in my car and didn't even have a cell phone with me on the day I nearly skidded into a pole in my first car (there was no anti-lock brake system back in the day that car was made). I was alert and driving fine but the road didn't seem to agree with my car. There's also heavy rain, snow or fog that can impair vision. So should life stop because of bad weather? Maybe NTSA should take it up with Mother Nature for a change!

There are also other idiot drivers to keep in mind. I could have a perfect driving record but someone making an illegal U-turn, when it's obvious that I have the right of the way, should be banned from being behind the wheel at all.

All joking (somewhat) aside, I do keep a cell phone with me and sometimes I answer it in my car. I still have a handheld (*gasp!*) and am able to talk into it and drive at the same time. Usually there is so much traffic that I'm not going very far anyway. I use it to call my husband or the sitter to tell them if I'm running late. I have it there for safety reasons, which is ironic given what NTSA has to say. I don't text (not that I would anyway) and when I do have conversations, I keep them brief and to the point and try to only call when it's clear that I'll be stuck at a Maryland traffic light (they take about FIVE minutes to change from red to green) and I need to reach someone. If I'm being called by someone who has no effect on my schedule for the ride home from work, I let it go to voice mail and call back later.

Back to texting...I totally agree that texting while driving is incredibly unsafe and that is more comparable to drunk driving than having a conversation. My husband uses his cell as a GPS and I tell him to enter the destination before he starts driving. I get so upset when he tries to play with it while driving. I don't care how good a driver he is. It's just not safe!

To sum things up, I equate talking on a cell phone while driving with having a conversation with someone sitting in the car. I think it's safer than a lot of the other dangerous elements and behaviors out there. I have used a phone in my car and one that is handheld, no less. (It's usually easier at night when no one can see into my car). It's only for calls of immediate importance though. I will not text and will not let anyone else text while I have any say in the matter. I think the NTSA should look at the other dangers awaiting drivers every day before trying to ban all kinds of cell phone use.


Sara said...

I completely agree. I think it's all about using cell phones in good situations. If you can't handle talking and driving at the same time, then don't do it. Same with texting. There's no way someone could text and watch the road safely. It's using common sense.

Daenira said...

I think it depends on the situation. Mythbusters did a few episodes on this and proved that talking while on a cell phone was more dangerous, but that was not with the blue tooth. If you remember back to driver's ed they made us drive in silence with no radio on. This was because anything could become a distraction. I don't think people should be using hand held phones or texting while driving. But hands free can still be dangerous is you are not a good driver. **I've seen some lunatics on the road having hands free conversations and they were not driving very safe.**

But as you said, anything could become a distraction. Perhaps this is why parents have the age old adage of "Do I need to turn this car around?"