Study: Cellphone users drive like drunks

Talking on a cell phone makes you drive like a retiree even if you’re only a teen, a new study shows.

A report from the University of Utah says when motorists between 18 and 25 talk on cell phones, they drive like elderly people moving and reacting more slowly and increasing their risk of accidents.

If you put a 20-year-old driver behind the wheel with a cell phone, his reaction times are the same as a 70-year-old driver,” said David Strayer, a University of Utah psychology professor and principal author of the study. “It’s like instant aging.”

And it doesn’t matter whether the phone is hand-held or handsfree, he said. Any activity requiring a driver to “actively be part of a conversation” likely will impair driving abilities, Strayer said.

In fact, motorists who talk on cell phones are more impaired than drunken drivers with blood-alcohol levels exceeding 0.08, Strayer and colleague Frank Drews, an assistant professor of psychology, found during research conducted in 2003.

Their new study appears in this winter’s issue of Human Factors, the quarterly journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

Strayer said they found that when 18- to-25-year-olds were placed in a driving simulator and talked on a cellular phone, they reacted to brake lights from a car in front of them as slowly as 65- to 74-year-olds who were not using a cell phone.

In the simulator, each participant drove four 10-mile freeway trips lasting about 10 minutes each, talking on a cell phone with a research assistant during half the trip and driving without talking the other half. Only handsfree phones considered safer were used.

The study found that drivers who talked on cell phones were 18 percent slower in braking and took 17 percent longer to regain the speed they lost when they braked.

I knew it! I knew it! Put down the phone, you dumb motherfuckers and pay attention to the road! Dumbasses!! Fucking idiots!!

(Yeah, it’s a pet peeve.) :twisted:

Yeah, I’ll put down the phone as soon as we ban anyone over 65 from driving.

And there in a nutshell is everything wrong with Texas.

Also, no talking to anyone else in the car, it’s worse than driving drunk. Probably you shouldn’t be listening to music, either.

I either don’t answer or tell the person to call back if the phone rings while I am driving. I find it’s far more distracting that listening to music or talking to someone that is actually in the car.

This is not news to anyone who’s ever seen anyone driving while on a cell phone.

Of course not, it’s just more scientific evidence for same. See, this is something Dubya’s Police State should do something about!

Sorry, but anecdotally speaking, the worst drivers I’ve ever seen (aside from drunk drivers) were gabbing away on a cel phone, lost in their own little world, drifting randomly across lanes and jerking the wheel at odd moments.

Maybe what we need is a new sentencing law - people involved in an accident while on a cel phone get a ticket equivalent to the value/penalty of a DUI. To be fair, I’d also extend this to people who get in accidents because they were fiddling with their CD collection, applying makeup, etc.

Really? Is it just that the voice comes from a particular location instead of from a set of speakers? Why is a hands-free phone more distracting than a passenger? Now that would really be an interesting science project.

Really? Is it just that the voice comes from a particular location instead of from a set of speakers? Why is a hands-free phone more distracting than a passenger? Now that would really be an interesting science project.[/quote]

The person in the car is aware of the situation you are in, and allows for pauses, doesn’t demand your attention at critical moments, etc. That would be my guess.

And it doesn’t matter whether the phone is hand-held or handsfree, he said. Any activity requiring a driver to “actively be part of a conversation” likely will impair driving abilities, Strayer said.

So what do they propose, putting drivers in isolation booths so that they’re unable to communicate with other passangers in the vehicle?

I guess our society has finally come around to the age of intelligent cars. Take the responsibility away from the driver and place it on the programmer! No coding while browsing forums, though.

And what about people who get into an accident while they are over 70 years old? DWO?

HELL YES.