The Cell Phone – A Blessing and a Curse

by Warren

The basic cell phone has morphed into a
camera, PDA, GPS and MP3 player, with assorted
gadgets that rival a Swiss Army Knife. People
often tool down the road with a Spock-like
wireless earpiece discussing business or
catching up with a friend. They don’t
think they have a problem focusing on driving
and connecting to the person on the call.
However, with the split second timing needed
to respond in an emergency, experts
say we need total focus to maximize reaction

Here's my story
I was returning home from an errand with
my wife. She was driving. Traffic was unusually
bad. A meeting with a client was coming
up. So I called from the car to tell him
I was running a few minutes late. I wanted
to talk about either delaying our start
time or, if that didn’t work, rescheduling
the appointment. He agreed, but after several
minutes of scanning our calendars, he asked,
“Are you driving?”
I said very matter-of-factly, “No,
my wife is.”
The client exploded, “You violated
I explained very calmly, “We’re
only scheduling; she doesn’t know
which client is on the phone and can’t
even hear your side of the conversation.”

He slammed his phone down. I tried to contact
him later from my home phone and email,
but to no avail.

I have been thinking about other ways that
conversation might have played out and how
I can use the incident as a learning experience.

Obviously, even in the general population
car accidents do happen. A study by the
US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA) (see sidebar) outlines the dangers
of driving coupled with the distractibility
caused by cell phone usage. In my opinion, this
is not only about the phone itself but about
the conversation. Hands-free devises will
not alleviate my concern nor is it endorsed
by the Commission.

National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration (USA) says: “The primary responsibility of the driver is to
operate a motor vehicle safely. The task of driving requires full attention and
focus. Cell phone use can distract drivers from this task, risking harm to
themselves and others. Therefore, the safest course of action is to refrain from
using a cell phone while driving.” More information on the agency’s policy can
be found on this web site:

Going a step further, when an accident
occurs and there is a lawsuit, one of the
first questions an attorney asks is: "What
were you doing at the time of the incident?"
Also in more recent times, "Were you
speaking on a cell phone during this incident?"
Well, we know which road we're going down
by those questions.

Coach-client or colleagues' discussions
require a high degree of concentration.
If an accident occurred, a coach might be
found at least partially responsible either
because of his or her own cell phone use,
that of the client or both. Regardless of
liability, injury is not the preferred outcome.

Coach-Client Agreement
In my Coach-Client Agreement I have added
the following:

It is agreed by the Client and Coach
that that they will not be in communication
by cell phone while driving. Driver safety
is paramount for the parties to this agreement.
Cell phone use can distract drivers from
the task, risking harm to themselves and
others. Therefore, the safest course of
action is to refrain from using a cell
phone while driving.

Consider adding something similar to your
own contract. Then while reviewing the contract
with the client, you can reinforce your
concern. When the agreement is signed by
both parties, it is clear and unequivocal.

what I do when I’m in the car

Voice mail is a wonderful thing. When a
client—or anyone, really—calls
me while I’m driving, I just don’t
pick up the phone. I can always pull over
and check messages. When I return the call,
I tell them that I'd been driving and that
I’d rather be in different surroundings
so that I can concentrate on the conversation.
And I can touch again on the danger of cell
phone usage while driving.

The bottom line is this: statistically speaking,
talking on a cell phone is an
accident waiting to happen. Just ask the NHTSA.

articles of note

According to the United States’ National
Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA), in
2006, at any given daylight moment in the
US, 745,000 vehicles were being driven by
someone talking on a hand-held phone.
Continue reading in this article here.

In this article published by Virginia Polytechnic
Institute and State University, better known
as Virginia Tech, (USA) “Drivers were
studied while driving their own cars, under
normal traffic conditions.” They learned,
“Fatigue, distraction, and failure
to pay attention ranked as the top three
Continue reading in this article here.

According to Science Daily, “Nearly
80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of
near-crashes involved some form of driver
inattention within three seconds before
the event. Primary causes of driver inattention
are distracting activities, such as cell
phone use, and drowsiness.”
Continue reading in this article here.

About the author:

Warren Simonoff, ACG is a professional ADHD coach in Anthem, Arizona. You can
reach him by email to:
or call him at: (623) 826-8557. 

A different version of this
article was published by the ADHD Coaches Organization.

Scroll to Top

IAC Login