Using mobile phones in cars as bad as drink driving

June 12th, 2008 - 4:56 pm ICT by ANI  

Wellington, June 12 (ANI): Using a mobile phone while behind the wheel is as bad as drinking while driving, according to a Massey University academic.

Michael Townsend, universitys educational psychologist, has long campaigned for a ban on using cellphones while driving.

Two years back, Townsend found in a study that 4 per cent of Auckland motorists used a cellphone while driving.

“Motorists who use cellphones while driving make as many, if not more, driving errors as clinically drunk drivers,” The NZPA quoted him, as saying.

“International research has shown that using a cellphone when driving results in cognitive overload,” he added.

He said that the risk of collision was four times greater when driving using a cellphone, while the risk of a fatal collision was nine times higher.

“While 4 per cent might not sound sufficient to justify a ban, people can better comprehend the level of danger by imagining that one in every 25 cars coming toward them was being driven by a clinically drunk driver,” Townsend said.

Townsend said that concentrating on conversation, rather than the physical act of holding a cellphone, is what distracts drivers.

“The nature of the conversation matters too, with deep and meaningful dialogues creating a greater distraction and added risk than small talk,” he said.

“A ban would act as a deterrent for many people whose inclination to use a cellphone while driving prevails over common sense and self-preservation,” he added. (ANI)

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