wow...it's gotten hot in here since the last time I checked...and yet...
I read somewhere that 4% of the population can multitask whilst driving without issues. I've also read that the best Tetris player can handle up to 3 items per second. So I am convinced that with better training/research/education using phones on the go would be a non-issue. The brain is a wonderful thing, if time is invested in using its potential. Now if better research could be done (not the many methodological jokes that have plagued this thread...) and education and training based on it used, then I don't see why the end result wouldn't be superior to the status-quo, and certainly far superior to the dead end that a ban would be.
Now, why one would want to produce an un-enforceable ban on hands-free use of phone in cars in the first place, I have no idea. Why even waste time on a useless piece of legislation? A law that has no hope of being properly enforced simply discredits the rule of law as a whole, as the proportion of people disrespecting stupid 20mph zones already illustrate.
Since we are talking about laws and bans and all that... Have some of you stopped for a second and thought about what makes a law FIT FOR PURPOSE? Do so and you will eventually see for instance, that the ethics of using the greater good in terms of how many lives could be saved right now vs doing nothing are actually pretty weak. Let me explain:
Banning driving for fun would save way more lives but no one is looking at that particular white elephant. When I crashed my Z, the insurance claim was £19k. I was out driving for fun at the time. No useful aim other than my own selfish fun. However, do you know how many hungry Ethiopian kids could be saved from a horrible and slow death due to malnutrition with £19k? Hundreds? But no, I'd rather have my own selfish fun, right?
Multiply that by the number of claims on similarly pointless fun-related trips and...well, the case for a ban of pointless fun-driving becomes hard to resist, doesn't it? Ethics can be bitchy like that.
The lack of sophistication on these deeper ramifications on this thread so far has been unnerving. If even so-called advanced drivers can be so simplistic on such a sensitive and shaded and multidimensional driving issue, what hope is there for the common (wo)men?
Why mobile phones in particular? I am currently looking at research about the impact of interacting with unruly passengers (say, small kids in the back of your car, being their usual nasty selves). Guess what? Very distracting too, and in the worst possible way, in that the distractions can spike at the worst of times, yet no one even gets within 100 light-years of suggesting that small noisy kids should be banned from the back of cars? At the very least, I suggest that we gag them: a necessary evil for the greater good; think about how many mums on the school run will be saved that way. How many innocent families on their vacation trip will be avoided a brutal and unscheduled encounter with the grim reaper? Case closed, let's ban or gag those silly kids, I say.
The ban that has been advocated here is the lowest (un)common denominator. That it actually doesn't solve anything is just a cruel irony exhibited by many bad ideas: they were never intended to solve the underlying issue, but instead their sole real discernible use is often to placate a cheap fix on the insecurities/ignorance/inadequacy of those who push for them. I agree that it's hard to look at the real underlying issues beneath all the noise and bullshit and that it's even harder to grind meaningful solutions out of them. But that's no excuse to used flawed data to promote a flawed ban which cannot be enforced and would not have the desired effect, and never mind deleterious unintended consequences. Sheer absurdity.