Hang up and drive

Written by Jon Schmitz on .

When formation of the new group FocusDriven was announced this month with the goal of eliminating cell phone use by drivers, several agitated readers wrote to ask if other distractions -- eating, drinking, changing the radio station, screaming at the kids -- would also be banned.

The Roundabout doesn't quite follow: Just because there are other potential distractions, why not eliminate the one shown to be most dangerous? The National Safety Council estimated last week that 28 percent of accidents are caused by cell phone distraction. Other research has shown that driving and cell gabbing is as dangerous or more dangerous than being drunk behind the wheel. Why should we put up with this? It's not as though most of these conversations are vital.

The FocusDriven people, who want to do for cell yakking what Mothers Against Drunk Driving did for DUI, start out with two powerful allies: Ray LaHood, the U.S. transportation secretary, and Oprah.

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