According to Public Citizen and the Center for Auto Safety, since 2003 the government has withheld research showing the dangers of using a cell phone while driving. Public Citizen and the Center for Auto Safety are consumer advocacy groups that sued to obtain this information from the government. The groups say that the withholding of this information for six years has endangered lives. They assert that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration mistakenly led people to believe that using hands-free devices was safe while driving, because both hands could remain on the wheel. In response to that belief, state and local governments passed restrictions on the use of hand-held cell phones while driving. However, the research demonstrates that talking itself caused "inattention blindness," which slows reaction time. The executive director of the Center for Auto Safety stated that the research concealed by the NHTSA showed that driving while talking on a cell phone was as dangerous as drinking and driving. The Center for Auto Safety has petitioned the NHTSA to restrict in-vehicle systems that allow two-way communication while the car is moving, and wants the NHTSA to support limits on all cell phone use while driving.
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