Editorial for 12 December: Make cell phone ban complete

According to the latest cayCompass.com poll a majority of the people –
or those who took part in the unscientific survey – want the use of cell phones
by those driving motor vehicles banned.

Banning of hand held cell phone use by drivers is just one of the
amendments in Cayman’s Traffic Law.

Nationwide Insurance in the United States has compiled the following
statistics:

•Distraction from cell phone use while driving (hand held or hands
free) extends a driver’s reaction as much as having a blood alcohol
concentration at the legal limit of .08 per cent. (University of Utah)

•The No. 1 source of driver inattention is use of a wireless device.
(Virginia Tech/NHTSA)

•Drivers that use cell phones are four times as likely to get into
crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (Insurance Institute for Highway
Safety)

•10 per cent of drivers aged 16 to 24 years old are on their phone at
any one time.

•Driving while distracted is a factor in 25 per cent of police reported
crashes.

•Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity
associated with driving by 37 per cent. (Carnegie Mellon)

While those stats were gathered for the United States, we think it’s a
safe bet to assume that they are pretty good for worldwide use.

It is all too obvious when we are behind a vehicle to realise that
someone is talking on their cell phone, either with the device up to their ear
or on a hands-free set.

Their response times to making turns, pulling into parking places and
driving drastically slows down because their attention is not full on the major
task at hand – driving.

Members of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service have urged those who
do like to chat while driving to invest in a hands-free device and maybe give
them as gifts this Christmas.

But looking at statistics across the board, worldwide, talking on a
hands-free device while driving can be just as distracting as holding the phone
to your ear.

A ban on driving and cell phone use should be just that; a total ban.