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Cell Phones Can "Blind" Drivers

Even Hands-Free Cell Phones Make Drivers Accident-Prone

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"Even though you are looking right at something, when you are on the cell phone, you are not as likely to see it," says Strayer.

Researchers say talking on the phone produces a more hazardous form of distraction than conversations between the driver and other passengers in the car because the flow of in-car conversations are still dictated by the external environment, whereas cell phone conversations focus attention internally.

The president of the National Safety Council says this study is important, but more research is needed to fully understand the impact of cell phones and other electronic devices on driver distractions and motor vehicle safety.

"This study sheds additional light on the subject of driver distraction and its causes," says Alan C. McMillan, in a news release, "and it underscores once again that a driver's primary obligation is to give his or her full attention to operating the motor vehicle safely."

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