"Cell phones are quickly becoming one of the most common causes of car accidents in the United States and globally. People in deep conversation or trying to text are taking their eyes off the road and are not able to react in time to avoid collisions or driving off the road. It is estimated that cell phone-distracted drivers are four times more likely to be in a car wreck. Cell phones, it is estimated, cause over 200 deaths and over 500,000 injuries each year, and since the number of cell phone users increases daily, so will these statistics regarding deaths and injuries due to car accidents.
In the United States, as of October 2008, 266 million people subscribed to cell phones; only 4.3 million did so in 1990. Increased reliance on cell phones has led to a substantial rise in the number of people who use these devices while operating a motor vehicle.
Text messaging, or “texting” by teens, a driving distraction related to cell phone use, was the subject of an August 2006 Teens Today survey conducted by the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD). The survey showed that teens considered sending text messages to be their biggest distraction. Of the teens surveyed, 37 % said that text messaging was extremely or very distracting, while 20% said that they were distracted by their emotional states and 19% said that having friends in the car was distracting. Nationwide Insurance claims that 19% of drivers admit to texting while driving.
Several years ago, New York enacted a law that would ban cell phone use and require that you use a hands-free model while driving. Whether or not this law has reduced the incidents of cell phone use and accidents is still very much up for debate. Many claim the hands-free cell phone law has done nothing to help the severity of the situation.
The theory that hands-free sets are much safer than hand-held phones has been challenged by the findings of several studies. A study from researchers at the University of Utah concludes that talking on a cell phone while driving is as dangerous as driving drunk, even if the phone is a hands-free model. An earlier study by researchers at the university found that motorists who talked on hands-free cell phones were 18% slower in braking and took 17% longer to regain the speed they lost when they braked." (Continued via Best Syndication, Textually.org) [Ergonomics Resources]