Hand-held cellphone use: Moderate risk
For years, auto safety advocates, car insurance companies and other critics have blamed hand-held cellphones for causing significant distractions and leading to accidents and fatalities.
As a result, more than 10 states plus the District of Columbia have banned all drivers from using hand-held phones. D.C. and a majority of states prohibit novice drivers from using a hand-held cellphone behind the wheel.
The AAA test did indeed find that talking on a cellphone causes elevated levels of distraction.
Jonathan Adkins, deputy executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association, says drivers should not try to multitask when driving and should put away their phones.
He says the association continues to encourage all states to ban both hand-held cellphone use and texting by drivers.
"Any type of cellphone use while driving is dangerous," Adkins says. "The best practice is to turn the phone off and focus on driving."