Here in California, it's illegal to use a cell phone while driving, unless you're using a hands-free set that doesn't cover both ears. But studies show that a driver's cell phone use is dangerous - hands-free or not.
As Utne Reader reports:
Governing points to a 2006 study that found no difference between drivers talking on hand-held phones and those talking on hands-free devices — as soon as people started talking, they became more likely to rear end another car than a legally drunk driver. More recently, researchers found that simply talking on a phone cuts the brain activity devoted to driving nearly 40 percent.California has also made it illegal to write, send or read text messages while driving. You might think texting while driving is obviously a horrible idea, but it seems that plenty of people do it; a AAA study concluded that 46% of teens text while driving. (You can listen to one on Dr. Phil.) Car and Driver did an unscientific two-person road test, and came to this conclusion:
The key element to driving safely is keeping your eyes and your mind on the road. Text messaging distracts any driver from that primary task. So the next time you’re tempted to text, tweet, e-mail, or otherwise type while driving, either ignore the urge or pull over. We don’t want you rear-ending us.Indeed, one poor guy has been rear-ended three times by drivers who were texting.
And it's not just cell phones that present a problem. Eating while driving is also dangerous. And if you're a soccer fan, listening to a game on the radio while driving can also be a dangerous distraction.
So as we all go about our busy lives, let's remember that those lives are precious - and be sure to drive safely, giving our driving our full attention.
[Bumper sticker available here.]
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