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Don't Talk 'n' Drive

1:35 PM -- I have for some time been the bearer of bad news, to wit: Talking on a cellphone while driving just isn’t a good idea.

There was a good segment on this subject on the CBS Evening News a couple of days ago (which, sadly, isn’t available on the Web), and another story on CNBC as well (ditto as to availability). But just search for “distracted driving” or similar and you’ll find a ton on info on this topic -- and none of it good if you’re the type that likes to yak while motoring.

I’ve read enough studies on this topic to have reached my own conclusion, and I have. I think the use of cellphones should be restricted to those not operating a motor vehicle. Granted, some people are undoubtedly great multi-taskers and are blessed with neural wiring that makes simultaneous unrelated activities -- like typing while watching TV, or walking and chewing gum -- a snap. But I think few people are capable of talking on a cellphone and driving at the same time. And the issue is where one’s focus is, not the use of hands-free devices (a.k.a. headsets) or Bluetooth adapters built into cars.

There is little doubt in my mind that people are being injured and even killed because the marketers out there are selling us products and services incompatible with our basic nature as human beings. I like convenience as much as the next person, but we must draw the line when it comes to safety -- and it’s time for that line to be legislation.

— Craig Mathias is Principal Analyst at the Farpoint Group , an advisory firm specializing in wireless communications and mobile computing. Special to Unstrung

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