Yet another article supports the premise that it's not hands that make cell phone use while driving dangerous, it's the mental distraction.
“It’s not that your hands aren’t on the wheel,” said David Strayer, director of the Applied Cognition Laboratory at the University of Utah and a leading researcher on cellphone safety. “It’s that your mind is not on the road.”
In short, the proposed Arkansas ban on all but hands-free phones is of limited value. We should ban phone use while driving, period. Other, smarter countries and states have already done it. Cell phone use makes a driver as accident-prone as drunk driving. And don't start talking to me about the radio.
The studies show that cellphone conversations are highly distracting compared with other speaking and listening activities in the car.
One might think that listening to talk radio or an audio book would degrade driving skill; it does not.