A research report saying when young drivers “talk on cell phones they drive like elderly people, moving and reacting more slowly and increasing their risk of accidents,” obviously did not look at the driver safety records for 2003 released last month, which show older drivers are far less likely to be in an accident than younger drivers.

“If you put a 20-year-old driver behind the wheel with a cell phone, their reaction times are the same as a 70-year-old driver who is not using a cell phone. It’s like instantly aging a large number of drivers,” says David Strayer, a University of Utah psychology professor and principal author of the study. He clearly implies the 20-year-old without a cell phones is a better driver than the senior driver.

Frank Drews, as assistant professor of psychology and study co-author, adds: “If you want to act old really fast, then talk on a cell phone while driving.”

A look at Traffic Safety Facts 2003, published in January by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, may cause them to change their attitudes about driving and age.

In 2003, the latest statistics on traffic accidents shows that drivers 16 through 24 were almost four times more likely to be in a traffic accident than were drivers 65 or older. So, maybe something that causes young drivers to drive more like their elders is not such a bad thing.

More here.