Here in L.A. it seems that about 1 out of every 2 drivers is yacking on the phone.
It might be a good idea to make new drivers take their behind the wheel test with one hand duct taped to their ear.
Now there's a study out that shows that driving while yacking on a cell phone is not much different than driving while drunk AND that it doesn't help to use a headset.
In the study (From Reuters viaYahoo News):
"They 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 cellphones 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.
Drivers with an 0.08 percent blood-alcohol level drove a bit more slowly than both undistracted drivers and telephone users, yet more aggressively.
"Driving while talking on a cell phone is as bad as or maybe worse than driving drunk," said Drews, who said alcohol was involved in 40 percent of the 42,000 annual U.S. traffic fatalities.
Just like many people who have been drinking, the cellphone users did not believe themselves to be affected, the researchers found."
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So what about the ones that are drunk AND on the freakin' cell phone!