It's the second part of the study that interests me more. The one where they put up a distraction.
A BIG distraction: "a brightly coloured unicycling clown."
And you know what? The vast majority of cel phone talkers DIDN'T NOTICE HIM. Researchers said, "people using a cell phone may be less likely to notice new and distinctive stimuli, a phenomenon known as inattentional blindness." In fact, they concluded "engaging in a cell phone conversation results in poorer driving performance than being legally drunk."
And before you start asking, what about talking with another person in the car with you? Apparently they provide the advantage of a second pair of eyes since they have a vested interest in helping you drive better (according to the researchers). You know, since they'd like to survive the ride with you.
Makes you rethink your use of bluetooth tech, doesn't it? This study will likely be cited more and more as cities start to outlaw any cel phone use in cars.
Really, though. A unicycling clown. Whodathunkit?
For more on this study, "Did you see the unicycling clown? Inattentional blindness while walking and talking on a cell phone" review the abstract or download the PDF as published in the journal of Applied Cognitive Psychology.