Driving and using Cell Phone as Dangerous as Driving Intoxicated
Studies say that drivers using phones are four times as likely to cause a crash as other drivers, and the likelihood that they will crash is equal to that of someone with a 0.08 blood alcohol level, the point at which drivers normally are intoxicated.
Drivers drunk at the 0.08 percent blood-alcohol level drove a bit more slowly than drivers using cell phones, yet more aggressively. They followed the pace car more closely, were twice as likely to brake only before a collision would have occurred, and hit their brakes with 23 percent more force. “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.
Five states and the District of Columbia require drivers who talk on cell phones to use hands-free devices. Research shows that hands-free devices do not eliminate the risks.
The Federal government warns against talking on a cell phone while driving, but no state legislature has prohibited it. This year, state legislators introduced approximately 170 bills to address distracted drivers but fewer than 10 have been passed.