The answer is yes, but so does sneezing. NHTSA has conducted, and is conducting more test on cell phone usage. The risk of using a cell phone is clear, but the level of risk is not. If you on are the verge of road rage because someone is using a phone while driving, you may want to think twice. Odds are great that you were doing something possibly even more distracting to yourself at an earlier moment.
Studies have shown that the risk level of talking on a cell phone is similar to talking to a passenger in a car. Both are distractions, but at least a passenger can pause or alert the driver if they have missed something.
An even riskier behavior than using a cell phone, or talking to a passenger is operating a CD player. Studies placed cell phone usage, eating, grooming, talking to passengers all in a less riskier group than CD changing. CD changing had a much greater risk result. It was considered as dangerous as reading while driving.
The NHTSA's policy statement was as follows about cell phone usage. It is basic good advice about driving.
"The primary responsibility of the driver is to operate a motor vehicle safely. The task of driving requires full attention and focus. Cell phone use can distract drivers from this task, risking harm to themselves and others. Therefore, the safest course of action is to refrain from using a cell phone while driving."
Monkey Meter asked visitors how often they used their cell phones. Here are the results.
Information provided by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration