DULUTH (AP) -- Members of the Minnesota Medical Association condemned the practice of driving while talking on a cell phone.
The group, which represents about two-thirds of Minnesota doctors, called cell-phone drivers a menace to public health for their disregard for others' safety.
In a resolution endorsed by voting delegates as it wrapped up its annual convention Friday, the organization stopped short of calling for an outright ban on using cell phones while driving, but it used strong language about the need to educate Minnesotans about the dangers of distracted driving.
Sleepy drivers were also targeted as hazards, as well as those who fiddle with car radios, compact-disc players and global-positioning devices while driving.
"Cell-phone drivers are a public health problem," said Dr. Gene Kishel, noting a recent study in a national journal that found that drivers who are using cell phones are at a higher risk of being in an accident.
"The real issue, however, is inattention by drivers. ... Cell phones are only one piece of the puzzle," said Kishel, who practices in Virginia, Minn.
Public health was the theme of the delegates' Friday discussion, which wrapped up a two-day convention. Physicians also approved resolutions that called for greater efforts to make Minnesota communities smoke-free, more study of the pricing of prescription drugs and the need to educate the public about appropriate use of antibiotics.
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