Cell phone addicts, automakers and lawmakers are scratching their heads. For the past few years they've all been advocating the use of hands free cell phones to stem the tide of 2,600 annual deaths linked to talking while driving. But new research shows that it is the act of talking that is the real distracter and not the one hand on the wheel. Fast food fans probably could have told you the same thing. There was never a law saying, "no eating while driving."
The research will be discussed at this week's Convergence Conference in Detroit. Convergence is an annual automotive technology conference. Carmakers and aftermarket manufacturers are probably worried that lawmakers may cut down on the profitable, and very distracting, touch screen navigation systems, DVD players etc. since they're all as bad, or worse, than the distraction of cell phones. Cell phone users can rest safe though. Harvard researchers calculate if cell phones were banned in cars there would be a loss of "$43 billion a year in lost economic activity — about the same economic value of the lost lives and injuries." That much money means cell phones aren't going anywhere. Just expect more expensive peripherals to be the answer.