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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Drving and Texting

It would be good if our legislators focused on the science relevant to cell phone use rather than just the motor coordination required to text or dial a phone while driving (Mass. House OK's driving safety bill, Boston Globe, February 5, 2010: B1).

The science in unequivocal: a large part of the danger in cell phone use while driving is due to the concentration required while talking with a person on the other end of the phone. It is unequivocally not the same as chatting to a passenger in the car.

A passenger is also attuned to what is going on in the driver's environment so can adjust speech patterns in line with traffic flows and emergencies. A person at the other end of a telephone conversation has no such access to changes in the driver's environment.

We just do not have enough cognitive resources to attend to a conversation and to the unexpected changes that occur on the most routine of drives.

We must ban cell phones while driving. Period. Though I suppose this is a step in the right direction.

Sent to Boston Globe

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