Smartphones are as big a threat to driver safety as alcohol, safety experts say. They advocate a federal ban on all cell phone use while driving — including hands-free devices. Driving while using a cell phone reduces brain activity associated with driving — “spatial processing” that helps drivers remember and make sense of the objects on the street — by 37%, according to a 2008 research paper by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
And talking and texting on phones aren’t the only causes of distracted driving. “Discussions regarding distracted driving center around cell phone use and texting, but distracted driving also includes other activities such as eating, talking to other passengers, or adjusting the radio or climate controls,” according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This includes checking GPS navigation apps and in-vehicle entertainment systems.