I agree fundamentally with David Kushma's Aug. 8 column, "For safety's sake, hang up and drive."
However, as the former chief technical officer of CellPort Systems, a company aimed at reducing driver distraction through integration of cell phones into cars, I would like to comment.
Hands-free devices, if properly integrated with vehicle systems, can reduce the danger of using the phone while driving.
Voice-activated dialing, automatic muting of audio systems, freedom from holding the device and focusing one's attention on the small keys and display all serve to reduce the danger.
It is true that the mental distraction of having a conversation is not affected. However, I have yet to see a study comparing only that factor with the distraction caused by conversations with others in the vehicle.
We should all recognize that people are simply not going to stop using their phones in cars. So why not soften your message and propose intelligent use of phones in cars rather than tell people to hang up - which they simply won't do.