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Posted by MikeC/TX on 4/11/19 7:55pm
"Apparently there have been some new studies that show even speaking hands-free on a call is a distraction, because we're having to split our attention between the conversation and our driving."
Exactly. Humans cannot multitask efficiently - our focus can only be on one task at a time, and though we can switch focus quickly between tasks, anything taking our attention away from the primary task (trying to control that 2000lb+ vehicle) is going to be a distraction.
If you're driving at a conservative 30 mph, you're moving at about 45 feet per second. On a highway at 60 mph, it's 90 feet per second. Take your attention off the road for a couple of seconds to read a text or answer the phone, and you've moved a lot. Engage in a phone conversation - with or without Bluetooth - and your focus is now primarily on the phone conversation and not the task of controlling the car.
I do not answer my phone or even look at it when it rings while I'm driving, especially if I'm in traffic, because I don't want to take the chance of plowing into the car in front of me.
I think the laws that banned the use of cell phones while driving originated in NY - the idea was that if you had to make or answer a call, you had to pull off the the road and stop the car to do it. That law is still in force, as far as I know - I have a friend in NY who was ticketed because a cop saw her look down at her phone while she was driving. What she was doing was looking at what time it was, but it didn't matter to the cop - she was using a cellphone while driving...