From the WaPo:
Drivers who use a cellular telephone, even with a “hands-free” device, suffer from a kind of tunnel vision that endangers themselves and others, U.S. researchers said on Monday.
Legislation that seeks to make mobile telephone use by drivers safer by mandating the use of a hands-free device may be providing a false sense of security, they warned.
New York is the only U.S. state that requires the use of the devices for mobile telephone conversations while driving, but 30 others have been considering similar laws, as has the Canadian province of Newfoundland.
“Sometimes you have to actually do the silly study that shows the obvious,” David Strayer, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Utah, who led the study, said in a telephone interview. Strayer, whose team has done a series of studies on cell phone use while driving, set up a driving simulator and put 20 volunteers in it. Sometimes they used a cell phone and sometimes they did not. Their reaction time, driving style and performance were monitored. Writing in the March issue of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, Strayer’s group said use of a cell phone clearly distracted the drivers.
Excuse me, but no shit. I was bitching about this nonsense before I had even heard of blogs. This is why anyone who has ever had a course in foundations of learning, educational psychology, or a basic course on human memory was screaming that the NY law was absolutely pointless. It is not the hands (or lack of when holding a cell phone), but the distraction. Grumble, sputter, bitch, moan.
Here is a decent, easy to read text that might serve as a primer on some of the issues:
Baddeley, A. D. (1998). Human Memory: Theory and Practice, Revised ed. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
Here is the man’s website.
If you write laws for a living, go to those links and learn something before you start writing another pointless law.