Just last night my wife and I were stuck behind an obscenely slow car while driving home from the store. I'm all for careful driving - particularly in residential areas - but this car was going sloooooowly. When we were finally able to pass it, a quick look to the right revealed what we'd suspected all along: A driver with a cell phone glued to his ear while doing 18 in a 35 mile per hour zone.
Turns out there's a study that's just been released by University of Utah professor David Strayer that might lend some credence to my newly borne theory that drivers with one hand on their phones drive slower (in addition to generally lousier) than the rest of us. "The distracted driver tends to drive slower and have delayed reactions," said Strayer, whose study will be presented later this month to the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences. "People kind of get stuck behind that person and it makes everyone pay the price of that distracted driver."
According to Strayer's study (which, of course, isn't bulletproof in its methods), motorists on cell phones tend to go about 2mph slower than the general flow of traffic. While that doesn't sound like much, Strayer claims the overall effect of drivers on cell phones can add a total of 20 hours per year of commute time if you drive an hour each day.
I can't tell you how strongly I feel about "hang up and drive" being a slogan to live by - I know a ban on handsets on the road would be unpopular (if not impractical), but at the least, please make sure you use a hands-free option while talking in your car so your hands can stay on the wheel where they belong. And think twice about whether or not that call can't just wait until you're off the road entirely.
I mean, is it really worth risking an accident - and the potential loss of lives, property, and driving privileges that come with an accident - just to make a phone call?
Read more from the AP online article from here.