Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University just confirmed two older research studies, one in 2006 and one in 2003, that says driving while talking is as bad as driving while drunk. How did they reach this conclusion? Brain imaging. Volunteers drove a simulator inside an MRI brain scanner and were asked to determine whether a sentence was true or false. We've got two problems with this study.
One, since when does your wife ask you to determine whether somethings is true or false, repeatedly, while having a conversation? It's usually just talking about picking up milk or the crazy broad at work—a decidedly easier activity.
Two, did these volunteers actually get drunk and take the same test? Or were the researchers just saying that the errors made while on the phone were similar to the ones made theoretically while drunk. Because their study report doesn't seem like the subjects liquored up and did some driving. It's pretty difficult to come to the conclusion that talking on the phone is as dangerous as driving, but you can conclude that it's more dangerous than just driving normally. [Consumer Affairs via Textually]
Rothman points out that Mythbusters did their own test in Episode 33 (he's a big fan) and actually did get drunk and drove around. Any MB lovers see that one?