A Cell Phone While Driving Essay

798 Words Apr 12th, 2016 4 Pages
Is it hazardous to talk on a cell phone while driving? Many people believe it is, and they point to evidence showing that people who use a cell phone while driving are more likely to be involved in accidents, compared to people who do not use a cell phone while driving. Perhaps surprisingly, this association—between increased accident risk and cell-phone use—stays in place even if we focus only on “hands-free” phones. The problem, it seems, is not that you take one hand off the steering wheel, to hold the phone. Instead, the problem seems to be the phone conversation itself. But we need to ask: Is this evidence persuasive?

Actually, the accident statistics are ambiguous—open to more than one interpretation. Being alert to this sort of ambiguity is crucial for science, because if results can be interpreted in more than one way, then we can draw no conclusions from them. What is the ambiguity in this case? Perhaps talking on a cell phone while driving is, in fact, distracting and increases the likelihood of an accident. But, as an alternative, perhaps drivers who use cell phones while on the road are people who, from the start, are less cautious or more prone to take risks. This lack of caution is why these people talk on the phone while driving, and it’s also the reason why they’re more often involved in accidents. Thus, cell-phone use and accidents go together, but not because either one causes the other. Instead, both of these observations (cell-phone use and having…

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