Just Turn Off Your Phone!

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2 Responses

  1. Howard Wasserman says:

    Your point about studies suggesting that talking with passengers or listening to (and, let’s face, it, talking back to) the radio is different and not as distracting, if true strikes me as the key. My non-empirical assumption long has been that a live conversation was the same as a telephone conversation once the issue of not having both hands on the wheel was taken out of the equation.

  2. Matt says:

    On why chatting w/ passengers doesn’t cause as much trouble as talking on the phone does, the story I’ve heard (it’s probably mostly speculation but seems plausible enough to me) is that two things (at least) are in play. First, it’s easier to talk w/ someone near by whose reactions you can see, tone hear more easily, you see what they are talking about, etc. So, it just takes less concentration. Secondly, the other person is often also looking at the road and so tends to stop talking, or at least pause, if there’s a difficult situation (increasing traffic, hard turns, rain, etc.) in a way that someone on a cell phone cannot. In general I agree, though, that we ought to use public service campaigns to encourage people to see what a dangerous (and selfish!) activity it is.