02/03/2006

Making and Taking the Call While Driving - is Risky

Driving in today's vehicles, equipped with every convenience from temperature
control to cup holders and stereo systems, can be considered a luxury. The
introduction of cell phones in recent years adds yet another element of
convenience - as well as distraction - to driving.

Driver distraction is one of the leading causes of traffic accidents. 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
accidents related to cell phone usage because the employer allowed or
encouraged employees to conduct business from the car. Some employers have
established no cell phone usage policies while driving for company business to
reduce the risk of accidents.

Potentially life-saving tips

Above all, the basics of safe driving are more important than ever: Keep your
eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. Drive defensively. Be prepared for
other motorists or poor driving conditions.

If you must use the phone, pull over and stop before placing the call. If you
have passengers, ask them to handle the phone while you drive. When receiving a
call, let voice mail pick it up, and call back at a safer time.

Avoid stressful, emotional or important conversations. Do not write or take
notes while driving and talking on the phone. Do not make gestures while
talking and driving.

If you must use the phone while driving, remember that the conversation, in
itself, will be a distraction. Use a voice activation program or hands-free
option. Pre-program commonly used numbers. Trying to find components, putting
on a headset or changing settings while driving is risky.

Don't multi-multi-task!

Using a cell phone and driving are both activities that require visual,
auditory, biomechanical and cognitive skills. This means that while we drive
and our eyes are looking for the "send" button or scanning names in our phone's
address book, they should instead be watching the road, using mirrors,
shoulder-checking, and watching the speedometer and other gauges.

While our ears are busy taking in a conversation on the cell phone, they should
be listening for the sounds of the vehicle, the squealing of brakes, or
emergency sirens. While our hands are fumbling with the phone's buttons or
headset, they should be busy enough steering the vehicle and activating signals
and headlights, while our feet operate the accelerator, clutch and brakes. And
while our minds are on the phone conversation, they should be alert for the
various tasks that driving demands - anticipating future movements of other
drivers, assessing traffic and weather, and preparing to avoid hazards.

Ultimately, a driver's first responsibility must be the safe operation of the
vehicle.

More info


AplusA-online.de - Source: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety