GPS, cell phones, BlackBerry: ingredients for driving disasters

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Brandon Alexander
  • Air Force Flight Test Center Ground Safety
As the world progresses and continues to develop, society has become enamored with the luxuries new technology has to offer.

Cell phones, text messaging, BlackBerry devices, global positioning systems and other various electronics have been so enveloped into everyday life that people as a whole have become complacent with their uses.

This feeling of complacency can often lead to accidents. For example, cell phones have become so common that people often forget to consider how much their reaction times and focus are affected when using them while performing other tasks like driving.

There have been several studies on the effects of using a cell phone while driving. According to the May 2005 edition of Safe Supervisor, cell phone use while driving results in "a delay in brake activation three times longer than the reaction deterioration found in drivers under the influence of alcohol."

It is no wonder why there are so many accidents with cell phones as the root cause.

There are enough inherent dangers in driving without increased complacency and extra distractions. Combine cell phone use with the other simple-to-use electronics like GPS, BlackBerries and Palm Pilots that can be operated while driving and the number of drivers' distractions increase along with the likelihood of an accident.

So, feel free to take advantage of the luxuries new technology offers, but for safety's sake, exercise restraint and refrain from using text messaging, cell phones, BlackBerry and other distracters while operating a vehicle.

Editors note: An AFFTC command policy, dated April 23, 2003, forbids the use of cell phones while operating government vehicles: "...GOV operators may not use communication devices (including privately owned) unless the vehicle is completely stopped."