Ithaca Blog

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

National Safety Council Calls For Total Cellphone Ban While Driving

The National Safety Council, which previously lead the campaigns for mandatory seat belt use and against drinking and driving, has now called for a total ban on cellphone use while driving.

Not just hand-held phones, but hands-free phones too.

The Council cites statistical evidence that cellphone users are 4 times more likely than other drivers to have accidents: the same ratio for drunk drivers.

The rate is the same for both types of phone.

New clinical evidence identifies the particular cognitive distractions of cellphone use while driving.

Ordinarily, drivers continually look around them. Cellphone users, studies show, tend to look straight ahead.

Laboratory evidence also shows that the brain is less receptive to activity from the retina during phone conversations.

Studies do not show these results with conversation with a passenger, or with listening to the radio or an audio book. Apparently these activities, taking place wholly within the car, do not take away from the cognitive senses of operating a car.

Remember when you didn't have to stop the car to smoke? That used to be okay for everyone, too, as long as you cracked open the window a little.

It might be a good time to get into a highway franchise business. See you at the rest stop.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog

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