Creating a free account will enable you to subscribe to our daily and weekly email newsletters, as well as customize your reading experience to show only the categories most relevant to you.
Signing up only take a few minutes, so why not give it a try and see what you've been missing out on.
It's time to act on mobile phone use while driving, say two senior Canadian physicians in an editorial published on bmj.com.
Charles and Barry Pless argue that, with a quarter of crashes in the United States now attributed to mobile phone use, "we can't wait for perfect evidence before acting.
Although there is still some uncertainty about the association between mobile phone use and risk of crashes, given the proliferation of mobile phones, the prevalence of distracted driving is undoubtedly increasing, they write.
Texting is the riskiest activity because the distraction is cognitive and visual, they explain. Handheld phone use (particularly when making or receiving calls) comes next, and hands-free use is probably the least dangerous.
Convincing causal associations are notoriously difficult to determine, particularly in this area, they say. However, physicians and policy makers "must often make decisions and act before they have solid proof."
They therefore decided to proceed by taking as "given" that the risk was "causal, substantial, and likely to grow unless more successful preventive measures are introduced."
They discuss possible interventions, such as education, legislation and technology, but point out that evidence supporting the effectiveness of education and legislation is inconsistent.
They believe the most promising solution to distracted driving caused by the mobile phone may be more technology. For example, software that prevents texting while driving or a signal jamming key that prevents mobile phone reception when the ignition is engaged.
"Ultimately, a technical solution is needed that blocks texting and conversations by drivers while permitting passengers to use their phones as they wish," they write. Until nudging works fully, they suggest regulatory bodies "must be instructed to incorporate the best available technological preventive measures into all new mobile phones and cars."
They recall the long delay between the first scientific evidence and the public's recognition that drunk driving is unacceptable, and say "we cannot accept such a long process in the case of distracted driving."
Studies must continue, but ... "we cannot always wait for perfect evidence to act. Doing nothing, or avoiding the tough options, can have disastrous consequences," they conclude.
Mobile phones and driving, Authors: Charles Pless family physician, Barry Pless professor emeritus, McGill University, BMJ 2014 doi: 10.1136/bmj.g1193
Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click 'references' tab above for source.
Visit our Public Health category page for the latest news on this subject.
Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:
BMJ. "Time to act on mobile phone use while driving, say experts." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 5 Feb. 2014. Web.
16 Apr. 2014. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/272147>
BMJ. (2014, February 5). "Time to act on mobile phone use while driving, say experts." Medical News Today. Retrieved from
Please note: If no author information is provided, the source is cited instead.
If you write about specific medications, operations, or procedures please do not name healthcare professionals by name.
For any corrections of factual information, or to contact our editorial team, please use our feedback form. Please send any medical news or health news press releases to:
Note: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional. For more information, please read our terms and conditions.
This page was printed from: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/272147.php
Visit www.medicalnewstoday.com for medical news and health news headlines posted throughout the day, every day.
© 2004-2014 All rights reserved. MNT (logo) is the registered trade mark of MediLexicon International Limited.