A white paper recently published by the National Safety Council concludes that even hands-free cell phone use while driving is unsafe.
“Understanding the Distracted Brain: Why driving while using hands-free cell phones is risky behavior” was published following a January 2004 incident in which a motorist talking on a cell phone ran a red light and hit another car in the intersection, killing a 12-year-old boy. "The driver sped past four other cars and a school bus stopped at the red light, and the car the woman hit was about the third or fourth vehicle that entered the intersection on the green light." Researchers call these situations "inattention blindness." Dr. David L. Strayer of the University of Utah found that drivers using cell phones "fail to see up to 50 percent of what's on the road." The white paper includes references "to more than 30 scientific studies and reports, describing how using a cell phone, hands-free or handheld, requires the brain to multitask – a process it cannot do safely while driving. Cell phone use while driving not only impairs driving performance, but it also weakens the brain’s ability to capture driving cues." Read more.