© 2004 by Susan Dunn, MA,
Your Emotional Intelligence Coach
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REASON # 1
After any accident there are always questions, many questions. In recent years some new questions are popping up all across America. Cell phone usage is now one of the big three in Discovery, right up there with "describe whether you had consumed any alcoholic beverage or taken any prescription or non-prescription medication..."
Interrogatory No. 1: Please give a full description of exactly how the collision made the basis of this lawsuit occurred.
Interrogatory No. 2: Was a cell phone in use in your vehicle at the time of the accident? Is so, state the name of the cell phone provider, the cell phone number, who was using the cell phone and the name of the person who receives the bill for the cell phone.
Request for Production No. 1: Produce your cellular phone records that cover the month during which the accident made the basis of this lawsuit occurred.
HERE COME the rest of us pleading with you to take heed. If this is showing up in Discovery in personal injury lawsuits, it means that we, the people, know there's a connection, whether or not the research scientists can statistically "prove" cause and effect.
SO WHY NOT TURN THE THING OFF!
If you're not concerned about yourself, and the lives of other adults, did you know that vehicle accidents are still one of the leading causes of death to children and adolescents?
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In Texas, in 2001, there were 1,032 accidents with 8 fatalities where cell phone usage was coded a contributing factor. This was an increase of 44.1% over the preceding year, and that was 3 whole years ago.
Whether you're holding it or not doesn't make much difference. A study conducted at the University of Utah, reported by Strayer et al in "Does Cell Phone Conversation Impair Driving Performance," found that:
(1) people engaged in cell phone conversations missed twice as many simulated traffic signals as when they were not talking on the cell;
Note that conversation itself disturbs our driving abilities, so just imagine what dialing does.
In the case of collision, according to a University of Toronto study, "Association Between Cellular-Telephone Calls and Motor Vehicle Collision":
(1) The risk of collision when using a cell is 4 times higher regardless of the age or the driving experience of the driver
(2) Hands-free cellular phone units offered NO SAFETY ADVANTAGE over hand-held
(3) Note, in all cases the driver wasn't necessarily "at fault" but it still slowed their ability to avoid a collision caused by someone else.
The Fatal Analysis Reporting System (FARS) is a census of police-reported fatal accidents occurring in the US. In one analysis of fatalities involving cell phone use, the cell phone-using drivers were all in the "striking vehicle. (emphasis inserted by editor)
That is to say: they struck something stopped in front of them, or left their lane of traffic and struck a vehicle or object. In these crashes:
Again, please note that the hand-held doesn't make any difference.
It's plain and simple - cell phone while driving is a distraction we can't afford. Driver error already contributes to over 90% of collisions in the first place. Why compound this with cell phone usage?
I will admit cell phones are great for productivity and personal safety. Just make sure you aren't using yours to call the EMS and the police after a car accident caused by the fact you were using it while driving.
© Susan Dunn, MA, Emotional Intelligence Coach, http://www.susandunn.cc .
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Editor's note: Teenage girls are being zapped with higher
because carriers believe they are ALWAYS on the cell phone.
What are they squealing about?
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