Under Connecticut law, it is illegal to use a handheld cellphone while driving, which includes talking and texting. However, distracted driving is still a major problem in Connecticut and many other states with cellphone bans. So what gives?  

According to a public health expert, addiction could be the reason Americans can’t seem to put down their cellphones while driving, even though they have been told over and over again how dangerous (and illegal) distracted driving is.

In this day and age, many of us are extremely attached to our devices, and according to research, the brain chemical dopamine could be the reason why. Dopamine has been linked to addictive behaviors like drug use, smoking and gambling, and behavioral psychology experts say it could also be released during cellphone use.

The public health exert said this means checking our phones has become more like a compulsion, and one that is nearly impossible to stop doing when the phone is in sight. For example, have you ever reached for your cellphone and started checking emails or Facebook seemingly without thinking? That’s an impulse.

So, in order for people to really stop using their cellphones while driving, the public health expert said the best bet could be the old “out of sight, out of mind” adage. He likened his theory to an example of allowing a drug addict to have drugs within sight but being expected not to use. In order for people to not use their cellphones while driving they should be put away, he suggested.

The public health expert said it could still be possible for people to make calls using hands-free devices, but the more dangerous actions of texting, checking emails or looking at Facebook should be out of reach. He suggests that people try out the theory to see if it helps them avoid an accident or ticket.

What are your thoughts on this theory?

Source: The Huffington Post, “We Need to Consider Stronger Laws on Cellphone Use While Driving,” Brad Stulberg, Oct. 27, 2014