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The first week of March, a joint group of Minnesota Senators and Representatives looked at the issues concerning distracted drivers. David Teater, the director of the National Safety Council, testified that tests have shown a 37 percent drop in brain activity when drivers multi-task.

The St Paul Pioneer Press reported that the testimony included:

  • Inattentive driving causes one in every four traffic accidents. That estimate is probably low, however, especially for inexperienced teenage drivers.

  • Using a cell phone while driving, whether hand-held or hands-free, delays reaction time as much as having a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08, the legal limit for driving.

  • Using a cell phone while driving reduces brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent.

  • The public thinks distracted drivers or drivers using cell phones are almost as big a problem as drunken drivers.

  • At any moment, 11 percent of drivers are using a cell phone.

Is a total ban on cell phones and driving in the works? That would change the lives of many, but it probably would be the people who are injured through the use who would benefit the most. A 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS-SURVEY USA poll found 60 percent of people surveyed thought cell phone use while driving should be illegal.

I would have a number of clients who would have been a lot happier if the ban would have been earlier. Personally, I can see the benefits of simply driving when you are behind the wheel. If nothing else, the evidence is there to take a good hard look at making the roads safer.

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