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Cell Phones Linked to 27 Percent of Crashes

May 20, 2015

Automotive Fleet photo.
Automotive Fleet photo.

Cell phone-related crashes increased for the third consecutive year and represented 27 percent of all crashes in 2013, according to National Safety Council researchers.

The newly released estimate includes crashes involving drivers who were texting or talking on handheld or hands-free cell phones in 2013.

The National Safety Council estimates that texting-related crashes jumped from 5 percent to 6 percent during the year, while crashes involving drivers talking on cell phones remained at 21 percent.

“The incredible connectivity enabled by technology has resulted in a very dangerous environment behind the wheel,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “While the public understands the risks associated with distracted driving, the data shows the behavior continues. We need better education, laws and enforcement to make our roads safer for everyone.”

The NSC said it calculates its estimate based on a model that relies on federal fatality data, observational data and research into the crash risks associated with various forms of cell phone use.

Texting increases a driver’s crash risk at least eight times, NSC said, and drivers talking on either handheld or hands-free cell phones are four times as likely to crash.

NSC created the annual estimate because cell phone-related crashes are not well represented in federal fatality data. 

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  1. 1. F Mayes [ May 26, 2015 @ 08:44AM ]

    Those responsible for gathering information about crashes need to separate out crashes involving hands-free devices from others. We need to determine to what extent hands-free devices are safer--or not. Eventually, cell phones will be safe to use, but we aren't there yet. Recall the old radios--you leaned over to turn them on, waited for them to "warm up," turned the dial--which meant looking away from the road--and manually adjusted the sound quality. Now, almost every control is on the steering wheel, and various pre-set options eliminate much of the manual operation people used to do. I have a feeling that there were crashes in the early days of car radio due to driver distraction over fiddling with radio controls. But we likely didn't notice the problem because traffic density was much lower in the 1950s.

  2. 2. S Coleman [ May 27, 2015 @ 11:59AM ]

    No excuses, take the pledge don't text and drive.

  3. 3. Barry Steel [ May 27, 2015 @ 12:25PM ]

    As I travel around the country, I am continually amazed that all states have not banned cell phones from being used in automobiles. Even hands-free are a distraction that is not appropriate for the average driver. This should be a national law that eliminates the use of cell phones while driving a car. It's just common sense!

  4. 4. Barry Steel [ May 27, 2015 @ 12:26PM ]

    As I travel around the country, I am continually amazed that all states have not banned cell phones from being used in automobiles. Even hands-free are a distraction that is not appropriate for the average driver. This should be a national law that eliminates the use of cell phones while driving a car. It's just common sense!

  5. 5. Lee [ June 15, 2015 @ 12:49PM ]

    Can someone please tell theses "scientist" that estimates are not science. They are guesses based on mathematical models that can't possibly have been verified because no one has ever collected raw data. What ever one ignores is the standard traffic fatality numbers. Has the number of deaths per driver increased? They do not want to publicize this data because the numbers do not support the claims. The last numbers I found last year had a minor increase. So you want me to believe that all the drivers got better and then fell prey to cell phones? Doing the real studies will be difficult and costly but we need the truth not an estimate that does not fit the facts.

  6. 6. D. Robison [ July 13, 2015 @ 07:36AM ]

    When people are involved in a crash they will not be honset to say that they were usng a cell phone. It is just like the seatbelt. They will lie about the use or lack of use. Just watch as you drive around and see those who do not signal, change lanes without looking, run stop signs or red lights because they have a phone to their ear. Yes I agree that the data does not show the true science and I believe it is higher that the 27%.

 

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