Protocol should be that response to any accident involving a motor vehicle should include a check to determine whether the person was using a cell phone while driving (whether hands free or not). If so, that is deemed presumptive evidence of driver fault for insurance purposes and result in the same penalty sequence as we apply to DUI drivers.
A Problem of the Brain, Not the Hands: Group Urges Phone Ban for Drivers
By TARA PARKER-POPE
In half a dozen states and many cities and counties, it is illegal to use a hand-held cellphone while driving — but perfectly all right to talk on a hands-free device.
The theory is that it’s distracting to hold a phone and drive with just one hand. But a large body of research now shows that a hands-free phone poses no less danger than a hand-held one — that the problem is not your hands but your brain.
“It’s not that your hands aren’t on the wheel,” said David Strayer, director of the Applied Cognition Laboratory at the University of Utah and a leading researcher on cellphone safety. “It’s that your mind is not on the road.”
Now Dr. Strayer’s research has gained a potent ally. On Monday, the National Safety Council, the nonprofit advocacy group that has pushed for seat belt laws and drunken driving awareness, called for an all-out ban on using cellphones while driving. . . .
Laboratory experiments using simulators, real-world road studies and accident statistics all tell the same story: drivers talking on a cellphone are four times as likely to have an accident as drivers who are not. That’s the same level of risk posed by a driver who is legally drunk. . . .