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Drivers on Cell Phone More Likely to Crash
Tuesday, July 12, 2005 12:47 AM EDT
The Associated Press
By KEN THOMAS

WASHINGTON (AP) — Drivers using cellular phones are four times as likely to get into a crash that can cause injuries serious enough to send them to the hospital, said an insurance study released Tuesday.

Research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety suggests that using a hands-free device instead of a hand-held phone while behind the wheel will not necessarily improve safety. The institute said it was the first attempt to estimate whether phone use increases the risk of an injury crash in automobiles.

"You'd think using a hands-free phone would be less distracting, so it wouldn't increase crash risk as much as using a hand-held phone. But we found that either phone type increased the risk," said Anne McCartt, one of the study's authors and the institute's vice president for research.

The study, published in the British Medical Journal, found that male and female drivers had the same increase in risk from using a phone, along with drivers who are older and younger than age 30.

With more motorists dialing and driving than ever, lawmakers have tried to find ways of reducing driver distraction.

New York, New Jersey and the District of Columbia prohibit talking on hand-held cell phones while driving. In Connecticut, drivers will have to use hands-free devices beginning on Oct. 1. Some cities, such as Chicago, Santa Fe, N.M., and Brookline, Mass., require hands-free devices in automobiles.

But eight states — Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, Oklahoma and Oregon — prevent local governments from restricting cell phone use in motor vehicles, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The study found an overall fourfold increase in injury crashes when drivers were using cell phones. Researchers said there were substantially more drivers who were using their phones when they crashed compared with other similar periods of driving.

The researchers used cell phone records to compare phone use within 10 minutes before an actual crash with cell use by the same driver during the previous week.

It examined 456 drivers in Perth, Western Australia, who owned or used mobile phones and were in a crash that put them in a hospital emergency room between April 2002 and July 2004.

Each driver's cell phone usage during a 10-minute interval prior to the accident was compared to use during at least one earlier period when no accident occurred. Each driver, in effect, served as his or her own control group in the study.

The institute had tried to conduct the study in the United States but could not get access to records from phone companies. The phone records were available in Western Australia, where hand-held phone use has been banned while driving since 2001.

More than nine out of 10 suffered at least one injury and nearly half had two or more, with the majority of the injuries being mild to moderate in severity.

Weather was not an issue in the crashes, with nearly 75 percent occurring during clear conditions. About nine out of 10 crashes involved other vehicles and more than half of the injured drivers said their crashes happened within 10 minutes of the start of the trip.

Many studies examining cell phone use in vehicles have been based on police reports, but critics say the records are unreliable because it is difficult to corroborate whether a driver was using a phone.

A survey released earlier this year by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 8 percent of drivers, or 1.2 million people, were using cell phones during daylight hours last year. It represented a 50 percent increase since 2002.

Jim Champagne, chairman of the Governors Highway Safety Association, said the study reinforced the need for driver education. His organization urges state lawmakers to refrain from enacting hand-held cell phone bans because they "incorrectly send the message to drivers that as long as they are hands-free, they are safe."

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On the Net:

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety: www.iihs.org
I wish they would figure out a way to restrict cell phone useage while driving on a national level instead of leaving it up to the states to regulate it or not.

Feel free to comment on this latest ongoing issue.
 

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I wish they would figure out a way to restrict cell phone useage while driving on a national level instead of leaving it up to the states to regulate it or not.

Feel free to comment on this latest ongoing issue.
I've said all along that there's something different about talking on a phone (hands free or not) and talking to a passenger. For some unknown reason, its simply more distracting. It somehow takes you outside the car and into la la land.

I wish it was something we didn't have to regulate but instead could regulate through education. Its like putting your hand on the stove. You don't do it because you know its dangerous. Driving while talking on a cell phone is dangerous so you shouldn't do it. But yea, I understand that in this society just telling someone that something is dangerous isn't going to do all that much(look at smoking).
 

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i read something (sorry don't remember where) that when talking on a phone, your attention is concentrated on the single ear to hear things, which is different when someone is in the car with you, you don't have to concentrate on hearing them, so you don't have to split your attention to hearing/seeing

but, hmmmmmmmmmmm lets see how much money we can spend on something everybody [censored] knows
 

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Blame bad driving on bad driving.

If you do something insanely stupid on the roadways, I don't care if its because your kid was yelling at you in the back seat (lets ban kids), or you were eating a bag of dorritos with one hand (lets ban food), or you spilled hot coffee in your lap (lets ban drinks), or you were playing with the radio controls (lets ban radios), or whatever.

You do something stupid... whatever reason... you are punished for being stupid. Period.

My cellphone flips open and goes to speaker phone. I have no issue talking to people over the speaker phone while driving. Believe it or not, I can actually pat my head and rub my tummy in a circle without suffering seizures too. I'm so talented.
I also have a GPS unit, and while its in sight I know not to stare at that screen while the car is moving nor program it... I'd hate to see them banned because people are trying to type an address into it while they are on the highway.

Put the blame where the blame belongs, not on inanimate objects.
 

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Blame bad driving on bad driving.

If you do something insanely stupid on the roadways, I don't care if its because your kid was yelling at you in the back seat (lets ban kids), or you were eating a bag of dorritos with one hand (lets ban food), or you spilled hot coffee in your lap (lets ban drinks), or you were playing with the radio controls (lets ban radios), or whatever.

You do something stupid... whatever reason... you are punished for being stupid. Period.

My cellphone flips open and goes to speaker phone. I have no issue talking to people over the speaker phone while driving. Believe it or not, I can actually pat my head and rub my tummy in a circle without suffering seizures too. I'm so talented.
I also have a GPS unit, and while its in sight I know not to stare at that screen while the car is moving nor program it... I'd hate to see them banned because people are trying to type an address into it while they are on the highway.

Put the blame where the blame belongs, not on inanimate objects.
Thats exactally what i was going to say!
 

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Flame away, but I personally feel I drive just fine on the cell-phone. I don't weave, I don't tailgate, I don't drive too slow. I've even actively prevented being rear-ended while on the phone.

That said... I frequently see examples where people cannot talk and drive successfully. I'd be willing to give up my freedoms just to get these unskilled twits to hold the wheel straight.
 

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yea, cell phones do contribute to the problem, but you gotta nip it where it starts
I've been a victim of the CDDWOCP (Careless dumbass Driving While On Cell Phone) its a new group, we are advocating equal rights and blame the injustice on society.

sure to be a real winner with the liberals.


sorry I just always felt like saying that
 

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The sate of ny must have read that. Now we have a law that says no more driving while on cell phone you have to pull off the road or you get a pretty heafty fine.
 

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It's all about using common sense when you're driving. I fully believe it should be left up to the individual (just like everything else, but then again, I'm a libertarian at heart). Good drivers will know when it's safe to make or answer a call. My rule of thumb is that I *never* answer the phone when I'm driving around town. That's partially due to the fact that I drive a stick shift, but also because things change and happen more quickly in around town driving than on the expressway, usually. If I'm on a reasonably quiet expressway, and I can just stay in the right lane (or middle, depending on the number of lanes and conditions), I'll sometimes make a call or will likely answer it.

Now having said that, I HATE phones in general, and believe that talking on the cell phones ruins the driving experience, which borders on a religious experience for me!
 

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Don't Call Me Gaga!
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Now having said that, I HATE phones in general, and believe that talking on the cell phones ruins the driving experience, which borders on a religious experience for me!
I agree with that... though I spend 1 to 1 3/4 hours in traffic everyday, often at a standstill... so the religious experience is more than a bit subdued.
 
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