The cell-phone ban really does seem odd to me, because it allows you to use hands-free devices, which don't really alleviate the distraction:
"The intuitive belief is that if it’s hands-free, or voice-activated, it is safe, but we haven’t seen any proof of that," says one source who asks not to be named but is actively involved in driver distraction research. "The research we have seen is showing that is not true at all."Of course, in D.C., with its confusing network of one-way streets, dead ends, traffic circles, traffic-snarling construction, and the lack of adequate lighting and signage, it's sometimes distracting enough just trying to figure out where the hell you are. Talking on a cell phone probably doesn't help.
So far, the National Traffic Safety Board seems to agree.
"Our studies seem to show that cognitive distraction can be more significant than visual distraction."
My suggestion: force D.C. drivers to play Mario Kart at home for at least one hour a day. That's helped me immensely.