Photo from http://virginialord.wordpress.com/2008/04/21/what-if-we-kept-our-cell-phones-off-the-road/So, a recent study by an affiliate of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Highway Loss Data Institute, finds that laws banning hand-held cell phone use don’t really work.  Is that a surprise?  I don’t know since I don’t live in a state where hand-held phones are banned, but I’ve often compared the use of cell phones to having a living, breathing passenger in the front passenger seat.

Have you ever driven behind one of those drivers who has a passenger in the front seat who has a compulsive desire to look at his passenger as he talks?  The guy ends up looking at his passenger more than he looks at the road during his conversation.  I always keep that guy in front of me for my safety, though I go insane to have to drive behind him.  I daresay he’s more distracted than he would be if he just had his cell phone up to his ear.

Since I’m usually a solitary driver, I know how distracting it can be to have someone in the passenger seat.  Perhaps the cell phone is less distracting because at least when I’m talking on the phone, I’m not concerned with how fat my thighs look sitting on the vehicle seat or if I’m driving like a grandpa.

Still, I’ve been behind, in front of, and beside cell phone drivers and I can say one thing: they’re distracted and all over the road.  They run red lights obliviously.  They cause crashes and maim and kill people.  If you see me coming and you’re driving and phoning, I’ll be yelling, “Put down your freaking cell phone!”  Though if you look in your rear-view mirror, you’ll know what my mouth is really saying ;) .