Dr. David Strayer of the University of Utah found that it is more dangerous for a driver to talk on his cell phone while driving than it is to talk to a front seat passenger. He said it didn't matter whether the driver was talking on a conventional phone or on a hands-free model -- because the degree of impairment was so great.
"When you're on a call, even if both hands are on the wheel, your head is in the call," said Janet Froetscher, president of the National Safety Council.
In a previous study, Dr. Strayer concluded that drivers talking on cell phones pose a greater hazard to other motorists than drunk drivers. His research indicated that drivers talking on cell phones exhibited slower responses than drivers dosed to a .08 alcohol concentration as measured by breath.
At any given time you are more likely to be on the road next to a driver talking on his cellphone than you are to a drunk driver. How safe do our drunk driving laws make you feel now? And if cell phone users are a greater hazard to the driving public, what is really behind the new "pretrial diversion" plan in Harris County?