Mobile phone makes accidents? Occasionally, it is the main reason for accidents in roads and railway tracks. How it happens? Answer is simple. Due to cognitive loading and in attention blindness, the user gives more priority to the cellphone talk than the social situation. With the advancement of technology and a sudden drop in the cost of cellphone use, every person has a cellphone in his pocket or bag. But majority ignore the facts like how, where or when it should be used. Let us see the impacts of cellphone use in public life and how it leads to accidents.
The major difference between the land phone and the cell phone is that the Land phone is stationary and the user is in a secure place. But cellphone use in public place is not like that. The user may be moving in public place and there are dangerous situations around the user. So the user is facing two situations. He wants to convey the message to satisfy the remote person and at the same time he wants to attend the social situation also. This is impossible for a human being because the brain will not allow to do two things at the same time. The brain will either attend the social situation or the communication. This depends on the priority fixed by the person. If he is giving more attention to the cellphone than the surroundings, he will be in a state of inattention blindness and will not see a nearby danger.
The brain cortex has centres for sensory, motor, speech, decision making etc to make the body suitable to perform functions based on the social situations. These areas form the Cognitive area which is responsible for thinking and decision making to perform a function. The cognitive area always concentrates in one responsibility to make it perfect. If it is forced to do two responsibilities, it will be in an overloading condition and fails to do both the jobs perfectly. One or the other job will be disturbed. Some simple examples are slipping from stair case, chocking when eating and speaking combines, burning during cooking etc. These are mild incidents but if the danger is a more damaging one, the result will be hazardous.
Cognitive loading is severe when a person combines driving and cellphone talk. Most people think that accidents during driving and cell phone use are due to the shift of attention to the cellphone screen. It not the reason. When a driver gets a cellphone call, he gives more attention to the remote person rather than his actions in driving. This creates cognitive loading and his decision making capacity and visual attention reduces. If the distance between two vehicles is 5 meters, he may feel that it is 10 meters due to loss of decision making. He fails to apply break in time.
This is the condition in which a person is blind to local cues when his cognitive functions over loaded. Cell phone use in public places, gatherings, roads, railway tracks, near machinery etc causes inattention blindness. The person using the cellphone in public place is in a different mood. He may develop Caller Hegemony which is the asymmetric relationship between the Cellphone caller and the remote person. Noisy environment, lack of speech clarity etc creates Caller hegemony and the person is forced to do effort to complete the call. In this situation, he may develop inattention blindness and will not see a danger in front of him. Accidents in railway tracks, roads, near train and bus doors, all are the result of inattention blindness.
Electricity related hazards
Use of cellphone while charging is dangerous. The Cellphone charger is SMPS (Switched Mode Power Supply) based. It takes 230 volt AC from mains and step-down this to 6-12 volt DC for charging. Unlike transformer based chargers, the SMPS based charger can fain easily. A single spark while inserting into the plug can damage the charger. If a high spike develops in the mains, the charger may damage and sends 230 volt AC to the cellphone. So do not use cellphone while charging and switch on the power only after inserting the charger pin into the cellphone.
Lightening related hazards
As you know , lightning is the sudden discharge of voltage as high as 50,000 volts into the earth when the charged clouds explode. There is a potential difference between earth and atmosphere. In a normal sunny day, it may be around 100 volts. But we do not feel its presence because its current is negligible. When the clouds accumulate in the sky, this atmospheric voltage rises to 1000 volts or more. If it exceeds above 25000 – 50000 volts, it explodes leading to lightning discharge. The lighting can induce very high voltage spikes and transients in the mains especially in the distribution transformer due to magnetic induction as seen in the Arc blast in plugs. The phase and neutral pins in the plug socket is located closely so that a bluish arc develops with a mild explosion between the pins when there is heavy lighting. When this happens, the device connected to the socket will be damaged. So do not charge the cellphone if there is lightning. It is also good to avoid cellphone use during lighting, since electronic and electric devices accepts charge from lighting through induction.
Static electricity related hazards
Static electricity is the atmospheric charge accumulating on the surface of objects. As the name implies, it is not moving always but can move if an external energy is applied. Cellphone emits very high radiation which is sufficient to cause disturbances in the static electricity and creates unnoticed sparks. If a highly inflammable liquid or gas is near this unnoticed spark, it can cause fire and explosion. That is why cellphone is prohibited in petrol outlets. It is also better to avoid cell phone use in kitchen, because LPG is highly inflammable than petrol.
Cellphone battery is Lithium ion type and long lasting one. It is rated 3.6 volts to perform the functions of cellphone. Usually it lasts for 3-4 years because the charge/ discharge cycle is perfect. Over charging will reduce the life of battery. Some people always plug in the charger due to a feeling that the battery will drop suddenly. This will not happen. Once in two days charging is sufficient unless the charge indicator shows 2 bars. Over charging causes gas accumulation inside the battery and the middle part bulges out leading to its permanent damage. Periodically check the battery. This simple trick will be useful. Place the battery on an even surface and rotate. A good battery will not rotate while a bulged one rotates easily. Replace such a battery immediately because, the battery can explode at any time during charging or using the cellphone.