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Away From Home

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Cell phones + Cars = Danger, Will Robinson

A new study has found that people who use cell phones while driving are 4 times as likely to get into accidents involving a serious injury than people who are not using cell phones. While this may seem obvious, think about that stat -- that means that if you're driving down the road and come across an accident, there's an 80% chance that a cell phone was involved.

That's a pretty astounding number.

Many cities, including DC, have thought that forcing drivers to use hands-free devices will make things safer. In DC, it's illegal to use a cell phone without a hands-free device while driving.

This policy makes no sense.

Using a cell phone while driving isn't dangerous because you have to hold the phone. It's dangerous because it's distracting, and hands-free devices don't fix that.

In fact, the study was conducted in a city with such a law. According to one of the authors of the study:

"There was no safety benefit whatsoever from using a hands-free phone," said Anne McCartt, one of the authors of the study, which was published in the British Medical Journal and paid for by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

. . .

"Our findings indicate that laws that still allow drivers to use hands-free devices will not eliminate the crash risk of phone use," said McCartt. "In fact, to the extent that drivers perceive that hand-free phone use is safer, in some sense, these laws could have a detrimental effect if drivers increase their use of hands-free phone use."

(Full story here)


  • Scott, I think you're misinterpreting the statistic. By being "four times as likely" it means that talking on a cellphone while driving is four times as likely to cause an accident as driving without one at all.

    But still, worth consideration.

    By Blogger Logan C. Adams, at 7/12/2005 10:19:00 AM  

  • I saw a similar study that compared cellphone use to the effects of aging and found that young people driving while using cell phones had the reaction time of people over 50 years older. (Unfortunately, I can't remember where that study was; newspaper probably.)

    This idea should've been common sense years ago; back in the early 90s my brother and I were crossing a street when some moron on a cellphone damned near hit us & kept going. I don't think he even noticed we were there.

    By Blogger Jay Denari, at 7/13/2005 06:08:00 PM  

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