This is a Public Service Announcement, brought to you by the good folks at 5 Word Challenge:

There is an emergent trend amongst drivers today…many of them are using their cell phones while driving, sometimes with disastrous results.  You've all seen it, Ms. Chatty Cathy or Mr. Talkative Ted steering with one hand while the other is in possession of that devilish device that allows them to not only take their conversation on the road with them, but results in most of them taking some or all of their concentration off road.  This behavior causes thousands of accidents each year, and the number of incidences of cell-phone related accidents is only increasing.  

A recent study has shown that driving while using a cell phone is at least as dangerous as driving under the influence with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level of 0.08 (legal limit in most U.S. states).  In fact, three of the participants on cell phones in the study rear-ended the pace car they were following, turning their mobile phones into immobile phones, so to speak (none of these three were drunk).  Furthermore, the study shows that it is the very ACT of the conversation that seems to cause the impairment in driving, so even using a hands-free set does not always remedy the danger.

It's generally thought that hands-free kits make calling-while-driving safer, but that to be truly safe and responsible, you should pull over to the side of the road to take a call, or ask if you can call the individual back.  Unfortunately, there are always going to be people, too phobic about missing that key business discussion or too addicted to talking to their friend/spouse/lover, that will continue to gab away on their phones while on the road.  

These people can't be helped, but you can do your part by taking up the challenge to save your calls for when you're stopped.  Drive defensively, and look out for these drivers and their swerving, late-stopping, slow-accelerating, aggressive behavior.  If we all do our part, we can reduce the incidences of cell-phone related accidents, and hopefully the finger of shame pointed at those recalcitrant individuals will force them to follow suit.  Hey, we can always dream, right?

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