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Green Update: Using Smartphones in Cars

March 27th, 2012

Smartphone in car

The NHTSA is currently trying to figure out how or whether to ban handheld devices like smartphones from use in cars. And the automakers are supporting such a ban or at least some restrictions.

But they are also very concerned that such a ban might force them to redesign their built-in systems. What a shame that would be.

No one should be surprised that a recent British study confirms that smartphone use while driving is much more dangerous than driving drunk. With a test group of 17-24-year-old drivers fooling around on Facebook, their reaction time slowed by about 38 percent. (Blood alcohol at the legal limit slowed reaction time by 12.5 percent.)

They missed “key events,” wandered out of lane, and failed to respond to speed changes by a car in front. About 25 percent of drivers admitted to texting or social networking while driving. I’ll bet it’s more in the U.S.

None of this, in fact, is very surprising. Nor is it surprising that mobile multitasking, as much as some people love it, is clearly addictive and distracting. If you’ve observed how young people operate with these devices, you get the picture.

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