The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports. Last week’s tragic accident east of Toronto that killed a distracted father and his young daughter has refueled the debate over the use of cell phones while driving. Toronto’s police chief has said he wants drivers banned from using them, and Ontario’s transportation minister agrees the issue is worth reviewing.   But before any province takes steps to curb the use of cell phones in vehicles, there should be a close examination of past and ongoing research that shows the problem could have more to do with drivers, than cell phones, CD players or other electronic devices. Last Wednesday, a U.S. Congressional committee began hearings into what causes driver distractions and what can be done to minimize it (see Newsmaker above). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rightly pointed out that to drive safely, a driver needs to focus primarily on the task of driving. A 1996 study by the NHTSA estimated that driver distraction contributes to 20-30% of all crashes. No U.S. state as of yet has introduced a total ban on the use of cell phones in vehicles, although many have considered it. Massachusetts, for example, permits cell phones as long as they don’t interfere with driving. In Canada, Transport Canada is conducting a joint study with the NHTSA on whether voice-activated devices minimize driver distraction. The NHTSA is also working with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Intelligent Vehicle Initiative to ensure that the introduction of in-vehicle technologies, such as cell phones, navigation systems and on-board Internet systems, do not compromise safety. There’s no doubt that driving, even without the distraction of electronic devices, has become more demanding over the last 50 years. Anyone who drives the major highways in Montreal or Toronto can attest to that. And conventional wisdom dictates that using a cell phone, or eating a hamburger or reading a road map while driving makes for bad drivers. The hope is that governments, law enforcement agencies, telecom service providers and manufacturers can work together to ensure that new technologies are designed to minimize such distractions in the future.