Driving while simply talking on a cell phone -- even a hands-free phone -- is as dangerous as driving drunk, according to various research studies. Yet hosted communications provider Alteva is trying to convince companies that it and Microsoft have teamed on a voice-driven collaboration solution that's just perfect for helping workers not just talk but "safely manage their email, customer data, manage calendars, and collaborate with co-workers while on the road."
Ironically, in a pitch proclaiming the safety of working while driving with your hands on the wheel, Alteva's PR rep cites stats from the National Safety Council, specifically that 28 percent of traffic accidents occur when people talk on cell phones or send text messages while driving. The vast majority of those accidents involve the talkers, 1.4 million versus 200,000 texters.
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Yet someone at Alteva evidently either missed or ignored the NSC's very relevant and related finding that driving while talking is equally dangerous whether or not you're holding a phone.
Just last March, in fact, the NSC released a comprehensive paper titled "Understanding the distracted brain: Why driving while using hands-free cell phones is risky behavior" [PDF]. Drawing on 30 different research studies, the report states that the risk of using a phone while driving don't stem from the fact that the driver one has one hand on the wheel. Rather, "the cognitive distraction from paying attention to conversation -- from listening and responding to a disembodied voice -- contributes to numerous driving impairments."
Those impairments include: