Cell phones: As bad as booze

Drivers talking on cell phones are just as inattentive or likely to get into accidents as drunk drivers, even if they're using hands-free devices, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Human Factors.

People conversing on cell phones while behind the wheel performed just as poorly in a driving simulator as those with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08%, the level at which someone can be convicted of drunken driving in Michigan and most states, according to psychologists at the University of Utah.

Both handheld and hands-free cell phones impaired driving, the study found.

That calls into question regulations that prohibit handheld cell phones and permit hands-free devices, according to the researchers.

At any given moment during the day, 10% of drivers on U.S. roads are gabbing away on their wireless devices, according to a 2005 estimate by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

State lawmakers are "not addressing the issue by allowing the use of hands-free cell phones and not handheld," said Frank Drews, coauthor of the study and assistant professor of psychology at the University of Utah, where the study was conducted earlier this year.

"We shouldn't take the mind-set that if you use a headset you would be safer."



Serg said...

Is it not the same tlaking through a hands-free as talking to a person sitting next to you? THe distraction would be the same, won´t it?

Cheeky Monkey said...

Thats a really good point. The only diference I can see, is if your speaking to a person in the car with you, they can see what is going on around you, and would hopefully shut up if you get to a point were you need to concentrate more, were as a person on the phone, would not know and would continue to talk. But they are pretty much the same, as far as distractions go.

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