Drivers on phones ‘as bad as drunks’ — During any given day I see swerving drivers yakking on the mobil phone. How about a nice $500 fine? A bigger question is why do some people feel the need to be on the phone 24/7? What is wrong with them?

People who talk on mobile phones while driving are as impaired as drunk drivers, a new study indicates.

Furthermore the results related to hands-free phones as well as handheld phones.

The study was carried out by a team of researchers at the University of Utah. Its findings back up earlier research carried out by the same team, which found that hands-free mobile phones are just as distracting as handheld phones because it is the conversation itself, not just the physical holding of the phone, that distracts drivers.

  1. gquaglia says:

    Smoking is trouble too. One hand tied up with a hot burning ash that could fall on your lap at any time. If you are going to ban cell phones then smoking should go too.

  2. Brian says:

    Based on the number of close calls I’ve had with other drivers almost hitting me, I’d be all for tickets being given to drivers that use their cell phone while driving.

  3. Central Coast says:

    Hardly a week goes by that I don’t have a close call with one of these yapping fools. The Moms in the SUVs with their Brats in back are the worst offenders. If there is anyone that should be paying attention it’s them. I’d vote for Child endangerment charges for these distracted Yapping Moms. My 2¢

  4. Improbus says:

    Throw the book at them Danno!

  5. Zuke says:

    Now you’re gonna get people coming out of the woodwork comparing cell phone use to changing the radio station, eating, reading, and talking to passengers while driving!

    Being an avid bicyclist and motorcyclist, cell phone use during driving is one of my biggest pet peeves. I’d venture to say maybe 80-90% of the time I see people driving erratically (in the bike lane or on the center divider line) or that I have a close call with someone almost smashing me dead while on my roadbike or motorcycle, it’s with some zoned-out cell phone user… GET OFF THE F-ING PHONE AND DRIVE!

    Yesterday, I saw a woman actually sitting at a green light that had been green for about 15 seconds (enough time for me to walk across the street), just sitting there dialing her phone while traffic backed up behind her, not even mildly concerned that the cars in the adjacent lane were zooming by…

    Is driving THAT boring that people can’t be bothered to actually concentrate anymore? And Microsoft is planning to offer web-surfing software for automobiles now?? Are they fricken NUTS? (you just know there’s gonna be a hack to allow people to websurf while the car is in motion)

    Don’t even get me started about these cellphone freaks yacking in the movie theater or at the grocery store checkout!!!!!!! Ok, I must chill…

  6. Peter Rodwell says:

    It’s illegal here in Spain – a €600 fine if they catch you (but you can use a hands-free system, although they’re talking about banning those too).

  7. Greyhound says:

    Mythbusters demonstrated that the only advantage
    of a cell phone over alcohol in a car is that you can
    put the cell phone down.

    Sometimes you can even put the phone down
    before you kill someone

  8. John says:

    I’m not a big fan of people driving and using the phone, however…
    Most of the arguments I have heard of why talking on a phone is worse than talking to others in the same vechicle seem to also apply to CB radios. So why are we not also calling for their use while driving to be banned?
    I’m fine with the requiring of hands free systems when driving, but compleatly eliminating I am not as sure about. Maybe the best thing would be to require special training and a licence to ensure those idiots that are unable to focus on driving and talk to others at the same time are not allowed to either talk on a phone and drive, talk on a CB and drive, drive with other people in the car.

  9. RTaylor says:

    Last week I spent 10 minutes in a dentists waiting room with a 16 year old girl, “best guess”, and her cell phone. After about 8 minutes I was ready to go outside and bring an apocalypse down because I was sure the human race needed to perish. We need to go back to that black phone on the stand in the hallway with the 6 foot cord.

  10. Richard says:

    @9 I think you should have ‘participated’ in that conversation. Just answering the questions she was asking her friend or so 😉

    Yeah, cell phones are an annoyances. I have seen so many drivers not paying attention to the road because they were on the phone…

    I can’t believe they haven’t banned it yet. I actually think that I prefer to see a drunk guy behind the wheel than a guy on the cell phone…

  11. Ethan says:

    I agree with the majority here. I used to use a cell phone while driving (before headsets) and noticed how poorly I was driving. Then I switched to a handsfree system (OnStar) and noted how I drove only marginally better… I have a policy now when somebody calls me while driving that I answer long enough to say, “I’ll call you back when I am not driving”.

  12. Matt says:

    Why not just charge distracted drivers (talking on phone, applying makeup, eating,etc…) with recklace driving? That’s a large fine and instant 1 year suspension of licence in my state.

  13. spsffan says:

    ” A bigger question is why do some people feel the need to be on the phone 24/7? What is wrong with them?”

    That’s what I’d like to know. I have a cell phone…it gets used about 20 minutes a week, most of that when walking.

    Suffice it to say that these babbling idiots are not the best drivers in the first place, so it is no wonder that they get worse when on the blower.
    I DO have to say that being on the phone is far, far better than reading a book or newspaper while driving. I see that daily these days.

    DAve-been on the road since 1978 and haven’t killed anyone yet.

  14. Mark D. VandenBerg says:

    Who says any of these drivers you mention are skilled drivers without their phones?

  15. woktiny says:

    I think #14 makes a good point…. correlation does not imply cause…

    anyway, if its a distraction, which I believe it is (because people ignore everything when they get on the phone) what about the people who are capable of focusing on the road and letting the phone be secondary, instead of focusing on the phone and letting the road be secondary?

  16. xrayspex says:

    Most of the arguments I have heard of why talking on a phone is worse than talking to others in the same vechicle seem to also apply to CB radios. So why are we not also calling for their use while driving to be banned?

    For the same reason that nobody is talking about banning the use of curling irons while driving; i.e. it isn’t really a problem.

    On another topic, I can’t afford to go to the drive-in movies any more since gas went up to 29 cents a gallon.

  17. Aphex says:

    In NY I got a 150$ ticket for talking on my phone. I will never again talk on the cell phone while driving. If it had been a 500$ fine..I probably would have thrown my phone away and said it’s just not worth it.

  18. John Wofford says:

    It used to be a freer world, back when I could eat a sausage and egg biscuit, drink coffee, talk to a customer on the cell phone and sort of monitor the CB whilst wheeling my eighteen-wheeler through the NYC labyrinthe on my way to Long Island. I don’t do that anymore, and somehow life seems not quite as exciting anymore.
    But I did it for over thirty years, from Alaska to Florida and California to Maine, and never hurt anybody, although there were some scary moments along the way.

  19. no one important says:

    I hate telephones.

  20. Allen says:

    IIRC, the original study was published in Chance Magazine ~1998. For that one they had collected information about crashes, associated DUIs, and the cell phone bill of the drivers involved with the crash to find that statistically (again, IIRC — a preliminary google doesn’t give the article, at least for me), the probability of being drunk and in a crash was the same as being on a cell phone and in a crash.

  21. I am sooooo sick of cell phones where ever I go someone is on one.
    I also agree the worst drivers are on the cell phone.
    Most laws we really don’t need.
    Government makes laws because people are stupid.
    Governements way of saying hey stupid wake up.

  22. Thomas says:

    The main problem with fines against cell phone use in a vehicle revolve around enforcement. The officer has a difficult time proving that the person was actually *using* the cell phone or that the object they had in their hand was a cell phone. That is why there is no fine (unfortunately) for women doing their lipstick or hair in rush hour traffic or mom’s futzing with their kids. Sure the officer can write the ticket, but when it gets to court he/she has to prove you were using your cell phone. If we always believe the cop, we have the problem of cops being able to cite anyone for cell phone use regardless of guilt. If we always believe the driver, then the law is entirely unforceable and we are back to square one.

  23. Mr. H. Fusion says:

    #22, easy fix. Most police have cameras in their cars now. All they need do is tape the offender applying make-up etc. Confiscation of the make-up for evidence would help too. As for cell phone use, either confiscate the phone for evidence OR get the phone number. If the offender claims that they were not on the phone then a check of phone records would contradict the testimony. Perjury is a felony while most traffic offenses are misdemeanors.

  24. Paul Stewart says:

    It is my understaning as related to me by my father back in the 70s that the original drinking and driving law, at least here in Illinois, was focused on any beverage in the drivers hands. And when the issue of drunken driving came to the fore, the first law they could apply was the broad any beverage law that was refined to be spacificly related to intoxication.

    Seems like the framers of the original law were on to something if it is the case.

    As far as smokers go, the insurace companies know the base facts, and they charge drivers more if they are smokers because if your hand is on a smoke it is not on the wheel.

    I want to third comment 14 by Mark. Most drivers think that because they have a licence they have good skills at driving. All a licence says is you passed basic competancy. As well most folks feel they are entitled to the license, a car, and now a cell phone because they are all status symbols. If they only knew. The only status I am concerned with behind the wheel is getting to my destination in one piece and in the same vehicle I started out in; not an ambulane, squad car, or cab because someone had to take a call


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