Representative Chad Christensen states that he can drive safely while talking on his cell phone. He is mistaken. Many studies show the danger of talking on a cell phone while driving.
Researchers at the University of Iowa pinpoint ‘attention disengagement’ lag as the cause of impaired driving while talking on a cell phone.
“Active listening delays the disengagement of attention, which must occur before attention can be moved to a new object or event,” concludes the report.
In addition, eye movements of participants asked to answer both simple and difficult questions also lagged. The researchers believe that’s because the brain needs to be engaged when actively listening, no matter how simple the conversation.
A 2014 report from the National Safety Council which compiled data on injuries and fatalities from 2013 and earlier, concluded that use of mobile phones caused 26 percent of U.S. car accidents: "The majority of the accidents involve drivers distracted while talking on handheld or hands-free cell phones.”
Only 5 percent were texting.
There were several Mythbusters TV episodes that compared driving while talking on a cell phone with driving drunk. Their conclusion: talking on a cellphone is indeed as dangerous as driving drunk.
I am especially concerned with drivers talking on cell phones while riding my bicycle when I am most vulnerable. All it takes is a distracted driver to swerve at the wrong instant to cause an accident. For the above reasons and more, I support the Idaho Falls ban on talking on cell phones while driving.