People also know the risks of fucking with the radio, looking at maps, yelling at kids, driving while sleepy, or drinking and driving. Guess what?
If you're comparing the risk of using a map or changing the radio station with using a phone, drink driving or driving whilst fatigued... you don't have a clue what the risks actually are.
there are degrees of risk, we acept certain levels of risk because it bad results are small and infrequent enough or the risk can be mitigated to that point. Using a map or changing the radio stations (note, steering wheel controls are considered a safety feature) are risks that are negligible because you dont spend 20 minutes fucking with a radio and looking at a paper map practically ensures you're paying attention to what you're doing.
DUI and using a phone are risks that are not negligible, they are risks that cannot be mitigated beyond simply not doing them and they are risks that produce very severe results. I think phones are worse than drink driving now because we've managed to get it into peoples heads that they're impaired when drunk but people still think that they're not impaired when using their phones whilst driving. The're stupid to think this, I'm not sorry for saying it and I wont sugar coat it, phone and drive then you're a bloody idiot.
I had a rather nice Honda Integra, last of the proper K20's. It was written off by some stupid tart who was on the phone in her Hyundai Getz because she didn't see that every other car had stopped because of traffic. Went into the back of me at 40 KPH.
Using a phone whilst driving doesn't just delay your reactions like fatigue or drunkenness, it removes them completely as your attention is solely on the phone (Humans don't multi-task, we task switch like hyperthreading and we're not very good at it). Like the silly tart who went into the back of my Honda, you will simply not notice the hazards when you're staring right at them. Your brain wont even register my brake lights, it wont tell your slovenly hoof to move to the stop pedal, the first you'll know about it is when you're eating your phone thanks to your airbag. If it was just you, I wouldn't mind if you lunched on Takata's finest products all day, however your stupidity affects me because my car is now a wreck because you don't have the discipline to pay attention to the most dangerous activity you will probably ever undertake in your life... driving.
Beyond this, I'm probably going to punch someone sitting at a green light because they're too busy staring at their phone (we can tell you're doing it, your crotch really isn't that interesting. Its easy for a decent driver to tell if someone is driving on their phone. You depart your lane, dont notice when traffic has sped up (or slowed down, as detailed above). It is slightly different the way a drink driver acts, a drink driver will attempt to correct their actions (I.E. swerving in and out of their lane) a Moron On the Phone (MOP) will keep departing their lane until they either hit something or get the horn from a driver who is paying attention.
We need a zero tolerance attitude for phone users. Take their licenses and take their cars if they keep doing it. Driving is a privilege, not a right. Abuse it and you should have it taken away.