Driver using hand-held cellphone

Austin TX Proposes Hand-held Cellphone Ban

Safety officials are proposing a ban on hand-held cellphone use while driving in the City of Austin Texas. If passed by the city council, the proposal would make it illegal to talk, text or use a cellphone behind the wheel of a vehicle. Drivers could still use their cellphone to call 911.

What these officials don’t seem to realize is that it isn’t the act of holding a cell phone in your hand while driving that’s dangerous, it’s the act of carrying on a cellphone conversation while driving. Several studies have shown that whether the phone is hand-held or hands-free, the dangers are still the same because the problem stems from what the brain is doing and not the hands.

Studies on enclosed tracks with drivers that compared hands-free to hand-held cellphones showed little difference in a driver’s response to the driving environment. Studies using brain scans while a driver drove in a simulated driving environment showed that, when driving without using a cellphone, the area of the brain concerned with spatial awareness (what’s going on around you) was most active. When driving the same course while holding a cellphone conversation, the area of the brain that controls language comprehension showed the  most activity and activity in the area for spatial awareness was reduced by 35 percent.

If city leaders wish to create a safer driving environment, they should ban cellphone use altogether. Read more: Austin panel recommends ban on hand-held cellphone use while driving