The drivers, both driving their own car or a public transport, are quite often seen on the roads speaking on the phone during the traffic. Meanwhile, such irresponsible individuals threaten the traffic safety. According to scientists’ researches, the drivers who use mobile phones during the traffic, even through hands-free headsets, are as dangerous as drunk drivers. This danger starts with human physiology. As the researchers of Rod-Island University (USA) established, a considerable part of the nervous system resources are distracted from driving and the road situation control as soon as the person takes a mobile phone in hands. Thus, there is a decrease in the cerebral cortex activity of such person which leads to the deterioration of the reaction (approximately for 29 %) or even more considerable changes on the road as compared to the one with the blood alcohol level, exceeding the norm. It more often leads to a speed excess, reduction of a safe distance, violation of a road marking and warning signs instructions.
In many countries, 90 % of drivers use a mobile phone while driving (Moses). It is life-threatening for both drivers and pedestrians. In Great Britain, it was found out that the phone conversation while driving increases the risk of a road accident in four times. However, many drivers, contrary to the researches, consider that a mobile phone does not influence a failure possibility in any way, that is, even if it is forbidden to speak on the phone while driving, the number of road accidents will not decrease all the same.
Many skillful drivers manage not only to speak on the phone, but even to type SMS-messages while holding a wheel with one hand. Can it be possible to supervise the vehicle and, at the same time, to read a message, consider an answer to the message and, certainly, type it? It is clear without any researchers that the attention of a driver is dissipated, which is inadmissible while driving.
The scientists from the Vanderbilt University in the American city of Nashville found out that when a person operates a car and speaks on the cell phone, the brain starts to carry out two tasks at the same time. Thus, the phone conversation is the main task, and driving becomes the minor. As a result, the brain starts reacting 300 milliseconds slower on the minor task, which causes a reaction decrease on the actions on the road and often leads to road accidents.
One of the latest researchers was carried out by the specialists of scientific and production association “Neyrocom”. They checked the attention of professional racing drivers, communicating on the cellular, who were carrying out a test drive. Their attention was fixed by a special bracelet working according to the principle of the lie detector. The driver in a “clever” bracelet was driving and accepting entering calls as the organizers were calling him/her on the mobile and asking tricky questions. As a result, a driver was compelled to concentrate on answers. It became clear that the driver paid less attention to what was going on around.
The conclusions of all the above-mentioned researches are unfavorable: practically all drivers (with a small exception) are subject to effect of turning the attention from driving on the conversation on the mobile phone. It, in turn, can be explained by personal psychophysiological qualities and experience of driving. For example, the control of a road situation is weakened at 9 drivers of 10, while simultaneously driving a car and speaking on the mobile phone as they have a decrease in the function of the external attention. On the average, the deterioration of the driver’s attention is decreased approximately in 50 seconds after the beginning of the phone conversation. After the end of the conversation, the attention concentration on driving is restored not at once, but in 1-2 seconds on the average. It is enough in order to drive in a suddenly stopped car in a dense city traffic stream or not to notice the pedestrian.
Unfortunately, hands-free headsets do not solve this problem. The American doctors consider that drivers who often use hands-free gargets with earphones are promptly going deaf because of electromagnetic radiations. It is remarkable that the hands-free headsets do not reduce the risk of turning the attention of the driver from driving into the conversation on the mobile phone. Even despite the fact that both hands are free, the reaction slowed down all the same.
A person may be quite capable physically to drive a car with one hand. Nevertheless, as the scientists convince, when the driver distributes his/her attention between the road and the interlocutor, he/she ignores the rear-view mirrors in 60 % of the cases, and he/she does not notice road signs in 30 %. The main factor leading to road accidents is the fact of driving with one hand, namely turning the attention of the driver into the conversation.
The experts recommend using additional services of the cellular network in case of need while driving: an answering machine, service of the voice call, voice mail, SMS. All these options allow communicating without a risk of a road accident.
However, there is another aspect of this problem. The recent research conducted by one American organization showed that it was useless to forbid talking on the mobile phone while driving. The statistics of accidents does not change from it.
The ban on the phone use while driving does not reduce a number of road accidents — the scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology came to such a conclusion having carried out a scientific research. In their opinion, the drivers speaking on the phone while operating a car are obviously predisposed to careless driving, and the gadget use influences the situation a little. 108 people, who were divided into three groups according to their age, took part in the research. In the first group, there were people aged from 20 to 30 years old, in the second group the people aged from 40 to 50, and, at last, in the third group — 60 years old. They went on a 40-minute trip on the highway on the special crossover equipped with video cameras, sensors as well as special sensors monitoring the driver’s behavior. Furthermore, it was forbidden to use the phone while driving. The research showed that the respondents who got used to utilizing mobile phones drove with a higher speed than other participants; they changed their way and made potentially dangerous maneuvers twice quicker. The scientists do not object that the phone is a distracting factor; however, they note that the main reason is related to a predisposition to this or that behavior. Therefore, according to the experts, the approach to the problem should be more complex, not just a simple ban on using the phones.
Some drivers do not understand at all what the problem is – to answer a call, driving a car. Today, they are lucky, and they really manage to do both successfully and at the same time. However, can the luck change to the worse tomorrow? The choice depends on the drivers. They can switch off the mobile phone for the period of driving or ignore entering calls and SMS-messages. It is also necessary not to forget about the quality of the road surface which, unfortunately, is not perfect.
Whatever was the choice of the drivers, the most crucial is not to allow accidents on the road. Some people even tend to make an exceptional maneuver while holding a phone in one hand and a cigarette in another. Any sensible person should understand that it represents an extreme danger for the driver and people who surround him or her.
In order to solve the problem, a specific punishment can be implemented which involves penalties for any manipulations with a phone while driving, most of all, for writing SMS-messages. The button pressing for sending the call from the phone into the hands-free headset can only be perceived as an exception.
It should be considered that it is considerably difficult for a policeman to prove the phone conversation fact while driving the car. In order to obtain the proofs of whether the call was fixed by the inspector at the moment of the car stop, this police officer can request the information on the phone call from the cellular operator. It is also possible to fix such violations in an automatic mode or inspectors can shoot them with video cameras in office cars. Thus, it is apparent that policemen will not stop the innocent person.
Moreover, it is necessary to fight against telephone negotiations while driving with preventive methods, for example, to show on TV several road accidents with victims which occurred because of the drivers, talking on the mobile phone. It will inevitably affect the majority of sensible people.
It is an undeniable fact that mobile phones became a part of people’s life long ago. However, there is a decrease in the cerebral cortex activity which leads to the deterioration of the reaction of drivers who use their mobile phones while driving. It more often leads to a speed excess, reduction of a safe distance, violation of a road marking and warning signs instructions. On the whole, it negatively affects the ability to focus on the road even in comparison with those, whose level of the blood alcohol concentration considerably exceeds the norm. Therefore, the use of mobile phones when driving should be forbidden in order to reduce a significant amount of road accidents.