Distracted driving is the leading cause of traffic accidents. Whether it’s looking out the window, daydreaming, talking on the phone, or eating and drinking, distracted driving is a target of state legislatures throughout the country. I’m just not convinced that legislators aren’t simply politicking when they propose and subsequently ban the use of cell phones while driving in the name of safety.
Monash University recently conducted a study which found that the presence of children in the vehicle while driving is 12 times more dangerous than talking on a cell phone while driving. If the end goal were to prevent dangerous behaviors, driving with children would be at the fore, but it will never be. The only reason legislators target cell phones is because they feel like they must do something. Fining cell phone use while driving is little more than a government money-grab disguised as a safety concern. Beyond anecdotal evidence, the data shows that increased cell phone use while driving is not causing more more accidents.
The number of cell phone users has skyrocketed in the last 20 years. During that same time, the number of drivers and cars on the road has also significantly increased. If cell phone use while driving were as dangerous as claimed, the number of traffic accidents should also have risen during the same period, but this is not the case. In fact, the raw number of traffic accidents has remained steady over this same period of time despite the increase of cars, drivers, and cell phone users resulting in an overall decrease in traffic accidents per driver/vehicle — something which should not be the case.