Friday, July 17, 2009

Multitasking While Driving is a Really Bad Idea

bumper sticker - Hang Up and Drive

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.]

Related Posts:
David Allen on Multitasking - and More
Wanted: Those Mythical Multitasking Skills


Cynthia Friedlob said...

I may have mentioned this previously, but we used to refer to the intersection nearest our home as "Girl on Cell Phone in SUV Corner." I can't begin to recall the number of times we've been out walking and seen drivers yakking away as they careened through the stop sign there. Even with the new law, we still see it happening sometimes, probably because we're not on a very busy street and people think they can get away with it.

And texting while driving?! Who could be so dense?

The really infuriating thing is that I would bet that most of the conversations and text messaging going on while driving are mundane and totally unnecessary.

Hit a nerve with me, huh?!

Jeri Dansky said...

Cynthia, I wondered if this would hit a nerve with anyone! I've had people call me while they were driving, and I've been tempted to suggest they call me back when it's safer to talk. I've never actually done that, though.