Sh… Don’t speak. Don’t speak…

Drivers on cell phones are as bad as drunks “We found that people are as impaired when they […]

Drivers on cell phones are as bad as drunks

“We found that people are as impaired when they drive and talk on a cell phone as they are when they drive intoxicated at the legal blood-alcohol limit” of 0.08 percent, which is the minimum level that defines illegal drunken driving in most U.S. states, says study co-author Frank Drews, an assistant professor of psychology. “If legislators really want to address driver distraction, then they should consider outlawing cell phone use while driving.”

You can pull over.
You can not answer (voicemail *will* get it)
You can not answer until you get a chance to pull over. Then you can call back.

No one is so important you have to risk your life or the lives of people around you to answer your phone.

Please pass this study on to everyone you know.


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  1. 1
    George Girton

    Not to minimize the risk of cell phone driving, which I believe is real, but the same study showed this about the .08 alcohol level drunk drivers:

    “Neither accident rates, nor reaction times to vehicles braking in front of the participant, nor recovery of lost speed following braking differed significantly” from undistracted drivers, the researchers write.

    Which would support the headline
    “Drunk drivers as safe as sober, study shows”

  2. 2

    I think you also have to factor in task-loading.

    I make a choice — I can either listen to the radio or talk on my cell phone. If the phone rings and I want to answer it, the radio gets turned off.

    The trouble with these studies is they don’t take multiple factors into consideration. If I was driving drunk, I’d probably also have the radio on… which is going to distract me further.

    If anyone decides that these studies justify a change in the lawbooks, I hope I’m not driving anywhere near them… because the concept is just silly.

    If you feel distracted by your phone… by all means, don’t answer it. If, on the other hand, it makes you more alert (such as, driving home after a LONG day), then I say, with gusto, GO FOR IT!


  3. 3
    nate koechley

    I find the study interesting, but disagree with your conclusion. I think we should resist regulating circumstances covered by other laws. People should [always] be held responsible for their actions. Getting in accidents and/or driving recklessly should be illegal, and is. That is sufficient.

    Driving under the influence of alcohol is fundamentally different than Driving While Distracted. Alcohol isn’t bad because it distracts you, it’s bad because it measurably reduces physiological capabilities for ALL people, and, worse, reduces inhibitions. Drinking makes people *think* they can do something, while definitively *reducing* their ability to *actually* do it. Increased penalties (e.g. DUI laws) hope to provide addition strength to the conservative side of one’s inhibitions. If we’re going to legislate “potential” at all, this seems an appropriate place to start.

    The second flaw with this plan is that cell phones are not the only thing that reduces physical driving performance. So does a stereo adjustment, a crying baby, a verbal fight with your partner in the other seat, bad weather, lack of sleep, eating fast food, applying makeup or shaving, and countless other normal events that would be comical to legislate.

    The third flaw is that laws cannot hope to keep up with technology. In fact, “cell phones” do not generally use “cellular” technology any more. Beyond that technicality, should using a Game Boy be illegal? What about an iPod? A video iPod? Visual Navigation system?

    Do we want government to regulate another “series of tubes” or gadget-de-jour? I believe we should simply hold people to a standard of good behavior across the board.

    I’ve meant to comment on this trend in several other places over the years, but never have. That’s why it struck a nerve today, and may explain the surprisingly long rant. Smiles, nate.

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