Hands-Free Phones Still Dangerous Driver Overload

Scientists say any kind of phone use makes for risky driving
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 1, 2008 7:33 AM CDT
A driver talks on his mobile phone while driving in San Francisco, Tuesday, June 24, 2008. Cell phone addicted motorists from San Diego to Crescent City face new restrictions starting July 1.    (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
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(Newser) – California motorists are now banned from using cell phones, but scientists say the move won't make the freeways any safer, reports the Los Angeles Times. Research shows that it is the lack of attention rather than occupied hands that impacts safety, and that drivers chatting on phones with both hands on the wheel may be just as much of a hazard.

Experiments have shown that driving while talking on the phone can dangerously overload the brain—with users of either hand-held or hands-free phones having slower reaction times than drunk drivers. Some experts fear that California's new law could actually make the roads more dangerous, as drivers take their attention off the road to look for their hands-free sets—or talk on a cell phone while looking out for cops.