Only 2 percent of people are able to safely multitask while driving.
Texting and dialing create more danger on the road than any cellphone-related activity. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, however, says using the cellphone at all is a serious safety hazard on the road.
The Senate is considering a bill that would require all states to ban texting while driving; 17 states and the District of Columbia have already passed a ban. Seven states have outlawed driver use of hand-held communication devices altogether. (A 2008 nationwide survey showed that only 63 percent of phone users say they would obey such laws.)
There is no way to know how many accidents are cellphone-related but David Strayer, a professor at the University of Utah, estimates that only 2 percent of drivers can safely multitask while driving. They are the same people who would make good fighter pilots.
In his studies, people who were legally drunk had fewer crashes when they were sober and talking on a phone.
Some authorities believe that hands-free technology makes mobile phones safer. But talking to someone on the phone is different from talking to a passenger. The passenger helps the driver observe dangers on the road. Often in Strayer's studies, the passenger stopped or started talking according to roadway conditions.
At Johns Hopkins University, scientists have discovered that when people direct their attention to sound, the visual capacity of their brain decreases.
Then again, applying makeup, eating fast foods and attention diverting children or pets in the car aren't very good for safe driving either.