If you drive in Ireland you will come across other drivers who are clearly not paying attention as they are yacking on the phone. While this is against the law here, it seems to be done with impunity. But then many, if not most, cyclists cheerfully and routinely ignore the law with equal impunity. I suppose one doesn’t get many kudos back at the Garda (police) station for busting an errant cyclist.
Hands-free phones on the other hand are legit. The assumption is that it is one’s hand being occupied that makes driving dangerous. However it seems, not that surprisingly, that it is one’s brain being occupied that matters. That is, people using hands-free phones are at the same elevated risk levels as their non-hands free counterparts.
One might ask why drivers don’t take these risks into account. Possibly they do (‘though I doubt it) but it is very unlikely that they take account of the risk and inconvenience to other drivers. So, clear grounds for intervention then , in my opinion.
WASHINGTON (Associated Press) — When someone is talking to you, your brain is listening, processing and thinking about what’s being said–even if you’re in the driver’s seat trying to concentrate on traffic.
That’s why drivers get distracted during cellphone conversations, even when using hands-free phones, researchers say. It’s also part of the reason why the National Transportation Safety Board made a recommendation this week it knows a lot of drivers won’t like–that states ban hands-free, as well as hand-held, cellphone use while driving.
It’s not where your hands are, but where your mind is that counts, NTSB chairman Deborah Hersman told reporters. The board doesn’t have the power to force states to impose a ban, but its recommendations carry significant weight. And, judging from the public reaction, they’ve already started a national conversation on the subject. NTSB has been swamped with calls, emails and tweets from drivers both praising and condemning the action.