Driving while talking on the phone—regardless of whether you're using a hands-free device—impairs your attention and reflexes as much as a blood alcohol content of .08, according to studies. With 81% of drivers admitting to gabbing in traffic, it might seem that stricter laws are inevitable, writes the New York Times—but there's a catch.
"It’s a political nonstarter,” says a California state senator about expanding legislation to ban drivers from using hands-free devices. And many states have steered clear of banning handheld phones, for fear that such rules might condone those still-distracting hands-free calls. Plus, as one legislator says, "I’m on the phone from when I leave the Capitol to when I get home, and that’s a two-hour drive."