When I walk a certain way to the train, I pass a house that’s teetering toward what one might call ramshackle, with a banged-up SUV outside that hasn’t moved since we moved in. Another car parked in front has a bumper sticker that says, “Shut up and Drive!”
My typical reaction to such a statement is similar to my reaction to people who say things like, “It’s America, learn f***ing English.” Easy, Archie Bunker.
But a new study from the University of Utah gives some credence to the “shut up and drive!” camp. According to the study, talking on cellphones while driving–even with the hands-free thingy in place–slows drivers down around 2 miles an hour.
“People kind of get stuck behind that person, and it makes everyone pay the price of that distracted driver,” said study author and professor David Strayer.
Overall, drivers on cellphones took about 3% longer to drive the same route as people who were not on the phone. With an estimated 1 in 10 drivers using the phone on a given commute, and it spells an extra 5 to 10% travel time for everyone on the road.
“The average person’s commute is longer because of that person who is on the cell phone right in front of them,” said Strayer. “That SOB on the cell phone is slowing you down and making you late.”