Strong link between mobile use and road accidents found

September 16th, 2008 - 9:59 am ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Sep 16 (IANS) Canadian doctors have warned that using cell phone while driving adversely affects the brain’s capacity to identify the danger, its visual concentration, the speed to process information and hence its reaction time.Basing their research on various studies from around the world, the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) doctors here say that there is a strong link between mobile use by drivers and road accidents around the world.

Their research points out that mobile use by drivers automatically led to a big reduction in their functional field of view, decreased safe distance between vehicles and slowed their brake reaction time. The use of mobile slowed the drivers’ response time to traffic light changes, 15 percent less response to traffic lights, and slowed braking by 18 percent.

Further, the use of mobile by the drivers reduced their visual monitoring of mirrors and instruments, with some abandoning them entirely. It also led to fewer glances at traffic lights and an increased tendency for hard braking.

“The evidence is clear that driving while using a mobile phone is dangerous to the driver, their passengers and others on or near the roadway,” said Ken Arnold, president of the OMA.

“Too many drivers treat talking on a phone while driving as a harmless’s not an easy prescription to give, but this practice has to be curtailed,” he said.

Arnold added, “`Doctors know all too well the consequences of driving while distracted and it is time that the right steps are taken to ensure the safety” of people.

Some states in America, Australia and many European countries have banned the use of cell phone while driving. In Canada, only four of the 10 provinces have put restrictions on the use of cell phones by drivers.

Since Ontario, which has more than 40 percent of the total Canadian population of 33 million, has no such laws to ban the practice, doctors have called for a legislation to discourage this habit.

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