Cellphone vs. Drunk Driving
Myth: It is just as dangerous to talk on a cellphone as it is to drive drunk.
A British study that asked subjects to do memory tests, reasoning, and mental arithmetic, found that cellphone use did hurt driving. The study also compared it to drunk driving, though Adam didn't describe the exact results of that comparison.
For this mythbusting, they wanted to focus on the talking aspect of cellphones, instead of dialing, as drivers would some sense to them would dial when the car was not moving.
For the test they used Kari and Adam as the test drivers and they went to Infineon Raceway near Sonoma. The test course had four parts:
* Accelerate to 30mph and then stop at a stop sign.
* Parallel park
* Time trial: average 15mph through the whole course (not faster or slower)
* Accident avoidance: while going 30mph, told to switch to left, right, or center lane
* Each part was graded by an instructor who was in the car with them.
Both Adam and Kari passed the course, though Kari had a bit of trouble parallel parking.
For the cellphone run, Jamie talked to the driver on a cellphone asking three types of questions:
* repeat the sentence (e.g. "The driver was stopped for driving 67mph in a 20mph zone")
* verbal puzzle "If Jack stole Ann's ball, who's the thief", and the more difficult, "If you see a picture with a diamond, rectangle, and a circle, and the circle is to the right of the rectangle, and directly above the diamond, is the rectangle right above the diamond?"
* list five things about a particular subject "Give me five things that are in the interior of your car," "Give me five things that are part of your daily work."
Kari failed, including offenses such as using her elbow to steer and failing over half of the obstacles. Adam failed as well.
FYI: Kari's answers to "give things that are part of your dialy work" included: "Kissing ass" and "doing my hair." Adam's daily work list included the more boring: "drilling and tapping," "making phone calls," "Checking my e-mail," "avoiding phone calls from certain people."
Drunk Driving Run
Both Adam and Kari got their blood alcohol level to just below 0.08 (legal limit), with police officers on hand to do the breathalyzer. Neither Adam nor Kari had eaten, so both were as hungry as they were tipsy.
Kari zipped through the stop sign, but her parallel parking was "one of her best efforts... marginally good." She went too fast through the time trial part and killed a couple cones. She failed again, but not as bad as with the cellphone test.
Adam failed the parking test, and "half failed" the time trial for not looking both ways. Overall he failed as well.
The cellphone tests were failed by a much bigger margin, though Adam's observation was that you can put down a cellphone -- you can't get instantly undrunk. Also, they tested the drunk driving below the California legal limit -- Adam, at least, has gotten much drunker for MythBuster tests than that.