>>> The News: JAY KAY!
By staff writer Amir Blumenfeld
February 2, 2005

The real news (for boring people)
The breakdown (for college people)

Study: Cell Phone Use Ups Accident Risk

SALT LAKE CITY – Talking on a cell phone makes you drive like a retiree — even if you're only a teen, a new study shows. A report from the University of Utah says when motorists between 18 and 25 talk on cell phones, they drive like elderly people — moving and reacting more slowly and increasing their risk of accidents.

Jesus, I didn't know that old people couldn't drive, I thought that was just a stereotype. Also, if you're old and you drive with a cell phone, that makes you drive like an Asian woman! The study suggests.

“If you put a 20-year-old driver behind the wheel with a cell phone, his reaction times are the same as a 70-year-old driver,” said David Strayer, a University of Utah psychology professor and principal author of the study. “It's like instant aging.”

Not only that, but when 20-year-olds are on the phone all they can talk about is Apple Sauce and Matlock.

In fact, motorists who talk on cell phones are more impaired than drunken drivers with blood-alcohol levels exceeding 0.08, Strayer and colleague Frank Drews, an assistant professor of psychology, found during research conducted in 2003.

Also, motorists who drive with cell phones are slightly more dangerous than those who have overdosed on cocaine and were placed in the front seat, passed out, with a cinderblock tied to the gas pedal, Strayer said.

Their new study appears in this winter's issue of Human Factors, the quarterly journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

I always thought PEOPLE was the leader quarterly journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. Then again, I'm a moron, Strayer said.

Strayer said they found that when 18- to-25-year-olds were placed in a driving simulator and talked on a cellular phone, they reacted to brake lights from a car in front of them as slowly as 65- to 74-year-olds who were not using a cell phone.

“Or extremely intelligent monkey drivers,” Strayer said.

In the simulator, each participant drove four 10-mile freeway trips lasting about 10 minutes each, talking on a cell phone with a research assistant during half the trip and driving without talking the other half. Only hands-free phones — considered safer — were used.

Whatever happened to car phones? I miss those babies… Strayer said?

The study found that drivers who talked on cell phones were 18 percent slower in braking and took 17 percent longer to regain the speed they lost when they braked.

Okay okay, we get it! This article can be only two paragraphs long. They're just reiterating the same exact point over and over!!!!! Strayer said!!!!!!!!

The numbers, which come down to milliseconds, might not seem like much, but it could be the difference to stopping in time to avoid hitting a child in the street, Strayer said.

STRAYER SAID STRAYER SAID!!!!!!!!!!! [The author of this piece has gone completely insane.]

The new research questions the effectiveness of cell phone usage laws in states such as New York and New Jersey, which only ban the use of hand-held cell phones while driving. It's not so much the handling of a phone, Strayer said, but the fact that having a conversation is a mental process that can drain concentration.

Really? Is that true? Having a conversation is a mental process that can drain concentration? I didn't know that from reading the article up until this point. NOW I FINALLY GET IT.

The only silver lining to the new research is that elderly drivers using a cell phone aren't any more of a hazard to themselves and others than young drivers. Previous research suggested older drivers may face what Strayer described as a “triple whammy.”

Ah yes, I love it when scientists use such professional words such as “Triple Whammy.” I knew “PRESS YOUR LUCK” would provide enough adult vocabulary for generations to come.

“We thought they would be really messed up because not only are they slower overall due to age, there's also a difficulty dividing attention,” Strayer said. But the study found that more experience and a tendency to take fewer risks helped negate any additional danger.

In fact, talking on the phone made them drive BETTER! Strayer said.