One study in South Africa on cell phones and road safety revealed that out of every 4 car crashes, one is cell phone related. Another study of circa 800 international drivers with cell phones found that half swerved or drifted into another lane, 23% had tailgated, 21% cut someone off and 18% nearly hit another vehicle while using the phone. Finally, studies suggest that talking on a phone, no matter how it's done, sharply increases the risk of an accident. Researchers studying brain imaging documented that listening alone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37%.
As such, South Africa and other countries have banned the use of cell phones and communication devices that cannot be operated by way of hands-free devices or kits.
While you are driving, you cannot create, send, or read a text message on a mobile phone or use a hand-held mobile phone to make or receive a phone call. This includes accessing online services in any way. It is an offence to hold or operate a cell phone or any other electronic communication device such as BlackBerry or Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) while driving, without hands free kits and headsets that enable its use without a hand or part of the body holding it. The only exception for a person charged with this offence would be where the driver has made a genuine emergency call when it would have been unsafe to stop driving to make the call.
You can, however, use your mobile phone to make, receive or terminate a telephone call while driving if the phone is secured in a mounting fixed to the vehicle and you manipulate the phone infrequently and briefly.
You can also use a mobile phone while driving to make an emergency call if it is unsafe or impractical to pull over and stop in a safe place at the side of the road to make the call.
If you have to use your cell phone with your hands, pull over to a place where it is safe and legal to do so, stop and the proceed with the conversation or texting.