Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 79–94

Embodied technology and the dangers of using the phone while driving


DOI: 10.1007/s11097-011-9230-2

Cite this article as:
Rosenberger, R. Phenom Cogn Sci (2012) 11: 79. doi:10.1007/s11097-011-9230-2


Contemporary scientific research and public policy are not in agreement over what should be done to address the dangers that result from the drop in driving performance that occurs as a driver talks on a cellular phone. One response to this threat to traffic safety has been the banning in a number of countries and some states in the USA of handheld cell phone use while driving. However, research shows that the use of hands-free phones (such as headsets and dashboard-mounted speakers) also accompanies a drop, leading some to recommend regulation of both kinds of mobile phones. In what follows, I draw out the accounts of the driving impairment associated with phone use implicit in research and policy and develop an alternative account grounded in philosophical considerations. Building on work in a school of thought called postphenomenology, I review and expand concepts useful for articulating human bodily and perceptual relations to technology. By applying these ideas to the case of driving while talking on the phone, I offer an account of the drop in driving performance which focuses on the embodied relationships users develop with the car and the phone, and I consider implications for research and policy.


Cellular phoneDriver distractionTraffic safetyPostphenomenologyField compositionSedimentation

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Georgia Institute of Technology, School of Public PolicyAtlantaUSA