There's always a lot of debate about laws that ban using cell phones while driving. While the laws are generally well-meaning, the problem is that single out just one distraction and try to crack down on it by making it illegal -- ignoring the myriad other ways drivers amuse themselves instead of paying attention to the road. There's plenty of science that proponents of these laws cite, such as studies showing that the way our brains multi-task can cause delayed reponses. Another similar study is out, and it delivers very similar results (via Textually), saying that the brain experiences a bottleneck when it tries to do more than one task at a time, such as when driving and talking on the phone. The researchers say the results "support the case for a complete ban on the use of mobile phones when driving", according to the BBC, but again, it's unclear why phones get singled out. The researchers didn't look at the specific effects of phone use, or even the effect of distractions on drivers; rather, they only examined what happens to the brain when it's asked to perform more than one task at a time. So it could be said that their research supports the ban of talking to passengers while driving, or fiddling with the radio, or drinking coffee -- anything but the act of driving itself. Clearly the use of a mobile phone while driving can be a distraction to drivers, but labeling it the only distraction worth doing something about is short-sighted and off the mark.
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