Is Your Cell Phone Putting Your Health at Risk?
Photo: © 2009 Jupiterimages Corporation
There are enough cell phones in use for almost half the people on Earth. They've opened communication and convenience to literally billions of people, but is that a problem? Here are four ways your cell phone could be dangerous.
Texting While Driving
In the summer of 2009, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute released a headline-grabbing report showing that the act of writing a text message while behind the wheel is one of the most dangerous things a driver can do. That "How R U doing?" can make a car crash—or near crash—23 times more likely for drivers of large trucks and six times more likely for most motorists.
A separate test by Car and Driver even suggested that texting while driving is more dangerous than drunken driving.
What makes texting behind the wheel so dangerous? It's pretty simple. Every second spent looking at a phone is one not spent looking at the road. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute report says in the time it takes to write even a short text, a driver could travel the length of a football field without even once seeing the road.
In his opening remarks on September 30, 2009, at the two-day Distracted Driving Summit, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, "Distracted driving is a menace to society." The federal government reports that almost 6,000 people died and a half million were injured in 2008 because if distracted drivers.
New laws could take the danger of phones right out of drivers' hands. Already, 18 states and the District of Columbia have banned speaking on cell phones while driving, and pending congressional legislation could nudge states into passing bans on texting while driving by threatening to take away federal highway dollars.