Cell Phone and Road Accidents

By: Henry Ford

The numbers of road accidents that can be attributed to cell-phone use while driving have been on the increased. A number of studies exploring this issue have documented a strong relationship between the use of cell phones when driving, whether hands-free or handheld cell phones. According to McEvoy, Stevension, McCartt, Woodward, Haworth, Palamar, and Cercarelli (2005) found out that driverís use of mobile phones while driving was associated with four fold increased likelihood of crashing. In their study on effect of mobile phones on visual attention, Golden and Barry (2003) found out that there was no major difference between risk a crash when using handheld or hands-free cell phone but their study found decreased risk of road accident when the driver hand normal conversation with another person on the car. Further exploring this issue, Hendrick and Switzer (2007) found out that use of mobile phones, whether hand-held or hands-free was attributed distraction of breaking response. Having established the relationship between mobile phone use and road accidents, Claton, Helms & Simpson (2006) looked into ways of decreasing cell phone use and increased seatbelt use during driving. Their study found out that there were a high proportion of drivers who responded to signs requesting them to hung cell phone, which means such signs are important in behavior change. In response to the above studies, it should be noted that the relationship between use of mobile phones and road accidents has been established. This means that the next focus in research should be exploring different ways of reducing cell phone use while driving. This study would therefore look into the driverís understanding of the need to pull over to a safe area and use cell phone and how they are likely to comply with such requirement. Today, cell phones have become indispensable and any call can be a life saving call, which means drivers should not ignore the call. This means that it would be prudent to encourage drivers to adopt safe measures while receiving a call that does not endanger their life and the life of other road users. Pulling over to a safe area will allow drivers to receive calls while at the same time ensuring the safety of other road users. However, most drivers know this is what they are supposed to do but they donít do it. This study will therefore look into the extent to which drivers are likely to comply with this directive.
Ho: More than three quarters of drivers will pull over their cars in a safe place to receive an incoming call.
i. Research design
The study will use experimental research design. Generally, every driver understands that it is imperative to pull over the car, stop in a safe place, and receive a call. Since not many drivers observes this directive, the study will be looking at reinforcing this directive among drivers by giving re-informing them and then observe their response when their phone rings while driving. Because the study wants to understand driverís response to directive that requires pulling over to receive a call and the challenges drivers face following this directive, it will be necessary to observe them when driving in a place with a safe parking place and hence the location selected will be outside the school gate because there is a good parking. By using experimental and control group, the study will be in position to establish driverís response to this directive.
ii. Sample and Sampling procedure
Participants for the study will be recruited from the school. This means that the target population for the study is the students. The study targets drivers aged between 15 -45 years, who have been identified as prone to road accidents resulting from cell phone use. The study will select a sample of 20 drivers from the school parking. The control group will consist of 10 drivers while 10 other drivers will form the experimental group. In order to ensure that all drivers have equal chance of participating in the study, simple random sampling will be used. This means that any driver will have equal chance of being selected as participant in the study. This will also reduce bias in sample selection. Participants within the age bracket of 15-45 years are likely to exhibit different demographic variables of interest in this study. This age bracket include individual who comprise active driving age. In addition, this bracket represent adolescents, middle age, and individual in their late middle age which means the data collected will represent views from a wide range of population. The study will randomly select individual from any race which implies that all races have equal chances of participating in the study. Simple random selection will also ensure that all genders have equal chance of participating in the study.
iii. Experimental procedure and data collection
The study will comprise of two groups, experimental and control group. Participants will be selected and they will be required to give their mobile phone numbers. After both groups are selected, the experimental group will be taken through one day training on the directive to pull over their can and receive calls while the control group will not be given any information on the directive. Then, participants in the two groups will be observed for a period of two weeks on their response to this directive. Within the two periods, participants in the group will be observed when leaving the school parking they will be phoned. The researcher will then observe if they receive the call and continue driving, pull over in a safe place and receive the call, or if they chose to ignore the call.
iv. Measurements
This study aims at understanding driverís response to directive requiring them to pull over in a safe place and receive calls. Therefore, the study looks at how drivers response to a cell phone call, with knowledge on directive requiring them to pull over and without knowledge on such safety directive. In this case the dependant variable will be information on safety directive to pull over the car and receive a call. One group of participants will receive this information while the other group will not. On the other hand, the independent variable will be driversí response to this directive.

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