Saturday, July 01, 2006

One Bourbon, One Scotch, and One Ringtone

People who talk on cell phones while driving, even using "hands-free" devices, are as impaired as drunken drivers, researchers said Thursday.

“If legislators really want to address driver distraction, then they should consider outlawing cell phone use while driving," said Frank Drews, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Utah who worked on the study.

Researchers studied 40 volunteers who used a driving simulator four times--while undistracted, using a handheld cell phone, using a hands-free cell phone and while intoxicated to a 0.08 percent blood-alcohol level--the average legal level of impairment in the United States--after drinking vodka and orange juice.

Three study participants rear-ended the simulated car in front of them. All were talking on cell phones and none was drunk, the researchers said. Motorists who talked on either handheld or hands-free cell phones drove slightly more slowly, were 9 percent slower to hit the brakes, and varied their speed more than undistracted drivers.

Does this mean if you drink and drive hands-free you will do slightly better than if not? I have to bring out my beer funnel more often when I hit the road.

I agree with the research about talking and driving. Now typing and driving is another story. In fact I’m posting this entry from my Blackberry 8700 while stuck in traffic, and ironically enough drinking Blackberry Brandy at the same time. I’m just kidding I would never drink Brandy and drive at the same time so I did the right thing and waited for this traffic jam to start before I started. But, my cell phone is turned off. I have to respect the study.

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