This article caught my attention:
Critics say that the failure of the Transportation Department to pursue the role of driving distractions in car crashes has resulted in traffic deaths and allowed multitasking while driving to grow. The research findings were obtained by the Center for Auto Safety and Public Citizen through Freedom of Information requests, the Times said. The newspaper posted the documents on its Web site Monday night.
The findings included:
_ Cell phone usage by drivers increased 50 percent, from 4 percent in 2000 to 6 percent in 2002.
_ Driver distraction contributes to about 25 percent of all police-reported traffic crashes.
_ Cell phone use is growing as a distraction while driving.
Draft recommendations from NHTSA included that "drivers not use these devices when driving except in an emergency."
Legislation forbidding the use of hand-held cell phones while driving was not recommended because it does not address the problem and may instead lead drivers to think handsfree phones are safer.
The problem is that a cell phone conversation takes the driver's focus off the road, the studies showed.- FoxNews.com
This is interesting.
I have been driving and talking on my cell phone for a few years. I have had children in the back seat for many more. I have to say that reaching back to replace a pacifier, or trying to help someone who is on the verge of throwing up while driving down a highway is considerably more difficult than talking hands- free on a cell phone. And how is carrying on a conversation on a cell phone any more distracting than having three children conversing with you at once? A friend of mine was driving down the road, when one of the kids piped up: "Look Mom, look at the toad Tommy caught and brought home!" She has a lot of self control. I do not do amphibians. If a toad is stowing away in my car, one of us is going to have to exit the vehicle.
I have no idea what the answer is. I guess the Amish have the right idea. If Ol' Betsy is pulling the cart, you can just put down the reins, let Betsy do the navigating, and when the kids hear you say "If I have to come back there...", they'll know you're serious.