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Talking on Cell Phones Makes You Drive Slower

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According to a new study by David Strayer, a psychology professor at the University of Utah, talking on a cell phone while driving can make a person drive up to 2mph slower that other drivers, the LA Daily News reports.

"The distracted driver tends to drive slower and have delayed reactions," said Strayer, whose earlier studies have resulted in the well-known findings that cell phone talkers react more slowly on the road than drink drivers.

I found this study of particular interest, given that recently I hesitated at an intersection while on the phone and because I hesitated, I just missed being hit by a white minivan that had outright blown its red light. Nevertheless, obviously safety, logic, and sheer loathing of traffic dictate the course of action: get the eff off the phone.

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In addition to driving 2mph slower than other cars, cell phone talkers are "far more likely to stick behind a slow car in front of them and change lanes about 20percent less often than drivers not on the phone," according the the Daily News. All this combined, according to Strayer, can mean a commute that is 5-10 percent longer.

So, for those of you who, like me, may occasionally stray from what we know to be the best judgment, this study makes for a great reason to dub 2008 the year of the cell phone free commute. And anyway, starting in July, driving with a cell phone will be different thanks to a new law.

Photo by KB35 via Flickr