Intended for healthcare professionals


Brains and mobile phones

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 13 April 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:864

What is the Risk of Talking?

Sir or Madam,

Life is not a risk-free occupation. Part of life is communicating with
others around you. When it is made illegal for a single adult to travel
in an automobile with unattended children in the back seat less than six
years of age, I will begin to have some sympathy for this idea that people
in the front seat should not talk to other people. A cranky three year old
in the back is far more distracting from driving than any conversation I
can remember with someone in the front seat. What is the difference
(hands-free, of course) with speaking with a living person in the front
seat and a telephonic communication?. Airline pilots talk to each other,
in flight, about golf, vacations, family, sportcars, and so on. People
listen to the radio, glance at maps, sip coffee. Driving is a multi-
tasking situation, and people will act in ways other than giving total
concentration of driving. Given all the medical problems to which we
should attend, I simply do not understand why there is such energy devoted
to the concept that speaking on a telephone should demand more legislation
to limit our actities of daily living.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

20 April 2006
James D Stevenson
Medical Officer/Instructor
RAF Centre of Aviation Medicine