There are those among us who may adhere to the belief that steering wheels are meant to be versatile and to accommodate as many fingers as are available at the moment.
Still, most would admit under duress that when a two-ton vehicle is in motion and you are directing its movement there are better ideas, and this is the naked truth no matter how inconvenient it may be.
It is odd how this phenomenon occurred when one considers that while celebrities are paid a lot of money to endorse bicycle helmets and other safety gear, it is not against the law to drive 4,000 pounds of steel 60 miles an hour while distracted in conversation.
Many people claim they can multi-task and they are not the problem and therein is the biggest one concerning this topic. It doesn’t matter if you were born with a cell-phone growing out of your ear, if you are talking on the phone and driving at the same time you cannot possibly be giving your full attention to the road ahead and all of its perils.
Even drivers who are not distracted have accidents because that automatic pilot that all drivers exercise works just fine until something different suddenly happens. That’s when you need both hands on the wheel and that just may be the moment when they are not there because they are…well elsewhere.
Even the hands-free phones are only a little bit better. Your hands may be on the wheel, but your mind is on the conversation/argument you are having with your boss, spouse, etc.
As long ago as 2002, the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration recommended that drivers not use cell phones at all, not even the hands-free type, and yet these reports were not even made public until last week after two public interest groups filed a lawsuit to obtain the documents under the Freedom of Information Act!
The recommendations posed by the NHTSA, along with a proposal for a long-term study of 10,000 drivers to assess the safety risk posed by cell phone use behind the wheel, were shelved due to what The New York Times referred to as “larger political considerations.”
At the time of this 2002 report, more than half of the population in the United States subscribed to cell phones and highway safety researchers estimated that 955 fatalities and 240,000 accidents were driver/cell phone-related accidents. Cell phone subscribers now make up 87 percent of the U.S. population, according to the cell phone industry trade group, CTIA-The Wireless Association.
And here we are in 2009 texting and talking while driving even more than ever before as we continue to endanger the lives of those we carry as passengers, not to mention our own.
If you are still not convinced, consider this startling fact: drivers talking on a phone are four times as likely to crash as other drivers, and are as likely to cause an accident as someone with a 0.08 blood alcohol content.
There are plenty of people out there who have a hard enough time texting while simply walking. Many argue that there is one simple solution and it may very well be a case of one-size-fits-all if given a chance.
Why not pull over to the side of the road if you need to make a call or send a text message on your cell phone?
Just think about that for a minute and…keep your eyes on the road!