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.