Don’t Think Cell Phones are as Dangerous as DUI?

By Garth O'Brien | March 2, 2008 
Filed Under OFF TOPIC

Ian Britton - PhotographerSpokane, Washington. Everyone understands and is against driving under the influence of intoxicants or drugs. However, there is a substantial majority of citizens that would fight for their “right” to use their cell phone while driving.

Shame on them. Studies have proven that driving while using a cell phone can be deadly and in some instances the driver is more impaired than if they were driving at a 0.08 blood alcohol level.

I bet Clifford Helm, 58, of Deer Park now understands the dangers of driving while on a cell phone. Mr. Helm is in Spokane County Superior Court for trial facing five counts of vehicular homicide and one count of vehicular assault. Typically, a veh hom or veh assault charge involves the defendant being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This is not the case with Mr. Helm.

On November 1, 2007 Mr. Helm was allegedly on his cell when he drove onto the median then into oncoming traffic of U.S. Highway 395. This debacle ended with Mr. Helm plowing into a vehicle head on. Mr. Helm is responsible for killing five children ranging in age from 2 to 12, and injuring their father.

There was no evidence that Mr. Helm consumed any drugs or alcohol. He was merely chatting away on his cell phone. Now do you want to fight for your “right” to talk on the cell phone while driving? Now do you think driving while talking on a cell phone is safe?


Photograph by Ian Britton as found on

DUI Blog Comments

2 Responses to “Don’t Think Cell Phones are as Dangerous as DUI?”

  1. Jenny on March 10th, 2008 5:18 pm

    We studied this while in college. I was a psychology major and my cognition professor has done many studies on this.

    While driving with a cell phone in hand does hinder driving skills, the same effect is show with a hands free phone. Also, driving is hindered by having another person in the car and by having the radio on. The argument: It is not the cell phone that is the problem, but the amount of attention given to each task being preformed. Driving was less inhibited when cell phone talk centered around places the driver needed to stop vs an argument with a spouse.

    Let’s take all of this away.. One person in a car at a time and no radio.

    No that is not the answer (neither is retracting cell phone use) I think the answer may be ONLY GIVING QUALIFIED PEOPLE LICENSES. And not to anyone off of the street.

  2. Garth O'Brien on March 11th, 2008 7:18 am


    You make a fantastic point. I have discussed with many friends and colleagues about limiting driving privileges only to qualified individuals. You seem to be the only person that would be willing to join me on that campaign. Turning 16 does not automatically establish a qualified driver.

    Here is a story for you. My buddy took his 90 year old grandmother to renew her driver’s license. There is a vision test in Washington that requires the test taker to push their head against a button to illuminate the test images. Even with using her entire body she was too feeble to push the button down. My buddy had to reach over and use his fingers to activate the test for her. Her license was renewed.

    We let too many unqualified individuals on the roadways. Thanks for commenting Jenny.