Those who drive with their mobile phones drive better
Berkeley – Using your mobile phone while driving your car does not cause traffic accidents. This is the conclusion reached by two researchers from the University of Berkeley, after a study conducted on the case histories of numerous road accidents that have occurred in recent years.
The research, published on the website of the American Enterprise Institute-Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies, seems to refute the findings of over a hundred previous studies, which have identified in mobile phone conversations the cause of a large number of accidents, and on the basis of which many traffic codes have prohibited their use.
The two researchers, Saurabh Bhargava and Vikram Pathania, highlight important numbers: since 1993, the average monthly time spent on a cell phone by a user has gone from 140 to 740 minutes. As is well known, the spread of the use of mobile phones has had a surge in the last 17 years, going from 2% in 1990 to 75% in 2006. And in the sample analyzed, the “confessed” motorists, that is, who admitted talking on cell phones while driving, on some occasions, amount to 40%. In addition, telephone conversations made after 9 pm, in the reduced or “free” range (without additional costs), not uncommon for some tariff plans, went from 20 to 30% (according to some surveys analyzed by the two academics, 44% of the interviewees admitted to making non-urgent calls right after 9pm, due to the cheapness of the rates in that time slot).
When the two Berkeley researchers analyzed the number of accidents that occurred between 1987 and 2005 across the United States, they found that, despite the exponential growth of the mobile phone market, the frequency of road accidents remained over the same period. constant, when not even lowered. “Maybe drivers are not as irrational as we think,” said Bhargava. “In real life, people can be aware of the risks of using a cell phone, and adapt their behavior behind the wheel accordingly.”
How? The two researchers formulate practical examples: moving in lanes with less intense traffic, increasing the safety distance, or simply pulling the car, stopping at the side of the road to talk more calmly. Perhaps, they add, the cell phone also helps drivers stay awake and alert during a long journey.
With this they do not exclude the danger of irresponsible driving by unscrupulous motorists who often have their cell phones to their ears while on the roads: “Our research must not be an incentive to drive while talking on a cell phone” said Saurabh Bhargava, who specified: “It can certainly be dangerous for superficial users”. “We know that the habit of talking and writing messages while driving is very frequent, especially among younger and inexperienced drivers” added Vikram Pathania “for these people the prohibitions of using the mobile phone established by some laws are founded”.
However, driving prudently, with common sense and with the fewest possible distractions is a fundamental rule that all motorists should follow. Regardless of whether a mobile phone is used, with or without a speakerphone.