Stunning research at the University of Utah driving under the influence of a cell phone is just as bad as doing so under the influence of alcohol. Participants drove simulator cars while sober, drunk and distracted and their performance in each test case was considered, and it was found that they were actually more likely to crash the car when distracted by a cell phone call than when drunk with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 (the legal limit for a DUI).
Interestingly also, they found no difference in driving behavior when using a handheld cell phone or a handsfree device! Cell phone users were over 5 times more likely to get in accidents than undistracted drivers. And they found cell phone users may also cause traffic backups due to their slow speed and poor lane changing patterns.
Wow, time to think of hanging up that phone! I don't talk a lot on the road, except when I take long trips on the interstate, but that's partly because I've been living in a university town. As I look to move and work, that might change, and suddenly the productivity drain seems a shame.