KWWL-TV: UI Study Supports Proposed Iowa Cell Phone Ban

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

IOWA CITY (KWWL) - Proponents of a measure being considered in the state legislature are using one study done by the National Advanced Driving Simulator (NADS) at the University of Iowa, as proof that a ban of using cell phones while driving will make Iowa's roads safer.

Separately, vehicles and cellular phones have become a part of every day life. But when you put them together, cell phones and driving don't mix, according to NADS Engineer Tim Brown.

"What you generally see is a delayed reaction time to those things that happen in the environment, whether that be a light turning yellow or red in front of you that you need to stop for, whether that be a car stopping in front of you."

Brown heads up research at the university's driving simulator, where a 2006 study proved just that.
 

"It's that mental, cognitive distraction, where your mind is elsewhere than on the driving task," said Brown.

University of Iowa engineering professor John Lee, who co-authored a book on the subject, agrees.

"It ranges between 8, as high as 15 or 20 percent, of crashes that involve some sort of distraction," said Lee.

Even so, he believes a ban on dialing and driving has an uphill battle in front of it, with plenty of people don't want to give up the luxury.

"There's a value in talking on the phone."

The driving simulator study found even hands-free sets can distract drivers. You can see the NADS entire study of cell phone use online.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

To access the video report, click here.