The Ontario Medical Association (OMA)
released findings about the significant impact that cellphone use has on
driving safety. The research clearly shows that speaking on a phone while
driving puts drivers at significantly greater risk of collision. Ontario’s
doctors want the provincial government to take action to protect the lives of
all drivers and passengers.

“The evidence is clear that driving while using a mobile phone is
dangerous to the driver, their passengers and others on or near the roadway,”
said Dr. Ken Arnold, President of the OMA. “Doctors know all too well the
consequences of driving while distracted and its time that the right steps are
taken to ensure the safety of all Ontarians.”

Government initiatives to curtail the use of cellphones while driving
have been implemented in Quebec, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, a
number of American States, Australia and much of Europe.

Studies show there is a strong association between phone use and vehicle
collisions. The OMA has found evidence that cellphone use (regardless of
whether it is hands-free or hand-held) has a significant impact on the
driver’s cognitive functions, visual concentration, the speed at which they
can process information and, as a result, their reaction time.

OMA research found that talking on a cellphone while driving:

– led to a large reduction in the driver’s functional field of view;

– changed average driving speed;

– decreased safe distance between vehicles;

– slowed brake reaction time;

– slowed response times to traffic light changes;

– resulted in a 15% increase in non-response to stoplights;

– slowed braking by 18% and slowed the time it took to come back up to
speed by 17%;

– reduced visual monitoring of mirrors and instruments with some
drivers abandoning them entirely;

– fewer inspection glances at traffic lights and an increased tendency
toward hard braking.

“Too many drivers treat talking on a phone while driving as a harmless
practice,” said Dr. Arnold. “It’s not an easy prescription to give, but this
practice has to be curtailed.”