JEFF MALACHOWSKY, Portland, Oregon
DON'T MAKE THAT CALL. Or blindfold a driver or bang a pair of cymbals near his head or do anything else that significantly ups his odds of getting into an accident.
Talking on a cellphone while driving does just that. Some studies liken the increased risk to that of driving drunk. Although other activities may distract a driverlistening to the radio, for exampletalking on a cellphone is particularly hazardous. For a driver to deliberately increase his own peril is unwise; to endanger other people is unethical. You should not be a party to either.
Incidentally, the increased risk is a cognitive problem, a shift in concentration from the road to the call; unfortunately, many states bar drivers only from using handheld phones, leaving lots of drivers with two hands on the wheel and one ear on the conversation.
Rather than make (or, for that matter, take) such calls, you should offer to phone when that family member or friend is not behind the wheeleven if saying no may be awkward.
(The New York Times Upfront, Vol. 143, Date TK)