Behind the Doc

Should you hang up and drive?

Posted August 26, 2010

More and more frequently I see people on our roads driving far slower than the rest of the traffic and drifting out of their lane. In just about every case they’re talking on their cell phone.

I’m guilty too. I remember driving one afternoon and having a fairly long cell phone conversation. When I put the phone down I realized I remembered very little of the drive I had been on for the last 30 minutes. Those things convinced me that we needed to do a documentary about driving while talking on a cell phone.

So did two tragic accidents that we profile in the Focal Point documentary “Fatal Distraction."

I think the most interesting thing we discovered is the research that shows how having a cell phone conversation while driving is more dangerous than other distractions like eating or talking to passengers in the car because it causes a cognitive impairment.

Our documentary host Monica Laliberte found that out in a special test we set up for the program.

Producing this documentary has made me think more about my own use of a cell phone while driving and I hope it gets others to think too. I've decided to keep my cell phone use to a minimum while driving, and when I must make or take a call, I keep it short. I’ve rediscovered how relaxing it can be to just drive and listen to the radio.

And as our documentary shows you, it's safer too.



Please with your account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Pseudonym Aug 27, 2010

    I wonder how many of these people who can't seem to talk on a cell phone and drive at the same time have on their resumes "excellent multitasker"

  • cocker_mom Aug 27, 2010

    I totally cracked up when the opening segment was Monica talking to the camera and driving ( at a decent speed judging by the scenery whipping by)

    But don't pick up that PHONE!!!!!

    (guess that means that filming a documentary doesn't require any thought? or at least less than a phone conversation...)

  • Nancy Aug 27, 2010

    I want a scrolling neon sign in my car that screams in tall red letters ...


  • acc_blood Aug 26, 2010

    lol z man!! That's hilarious. If what you say is true, then we would have a lot fewer minivans filled with kids on the road because the soccer moms are ALWAYS on the phone.

    That many soccer moms in extremely unsafe vehicles all driving with an equivalent of .08% would mean the roads would be littered with corpses

  • r u crazy too Aug 26, 2010

    And then interview a highway patrol officer while he's driving?

  • r u crazy too Aug 26, 2010

    So, on a news broadcast about dangerous habits, Monica is taping a interview while driving? Was that really a good idea? Talk about a distraction!

  • Z Man Aug 26, 2010

    You hit it on the head Clay. Only once have I ever talked on the phone while driving, and that was for less than a minute. I don't do it because it's more dangerous than having .08% alcohol in your blood. In fact, I'd bet it's more dangerous than having .16% alcohol in your blood.

About this Blog:

Documentary producer and writer Clay Johnson provides some behind-the-scenes insight into the production of WRAL documentaries.