MSNBC - Study: Young cell phone users drive like retirees
According to the above MSNBC.com article, a study has found that driving while talking on a cell phone gives 20 year old drivers reaction times similar to those of 70 year old drivers. Their driving skills are also more impaired than if they had a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent, which is legally drunk in many states and twice the legal limit for commercial truck drivers.
The tests were conducted in a driving simulator with a hands-free phone. Participants drove a simulated combination of two 10 mile trips on a freeway while talking to a research assistant and two trips without the cell phone conversations. Hands free devices were used to test the benefit of laws such as those in New York and New Jersey which ban driving while holding a cellphone but allow hands free phone use.
It turns out that the conversation occupies your mind so much that it is the bigger factor in driver distraction. Laws permitting only hands free devices do not seem to be a solution to this problem. The real answer must be drivers understanding that driving and cell phone use are not compatible. Most conversations can wait until you get to your destination. If you absolutely need to use your phone, pull over to the shoulder and park your car.
Cell phones are a great technology. They've become a vital part of many people's lives. But don't let them get in the way of your safety. Driving distracted, or not having full control of your car because you are trying to hold the phone with one hand and drive with only one hand is not worth risking your life, or mine for that matter. Yes, I mean you, the guy in the pickup truck with the snowplow blade on the front who almost turned into me today because you couldn't steer accurately with a cell phone tucked between your tilted head and hunched-up shoulder! Your cellphone should be used for getting help when you see an accident, not for causing one.
If you promise to use your phone responsibly on the road, compare plans for great cell phone deals ;)