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Posted on 08-24-2014

The average text message takes 4.6 seconds to write and send. While driving that would take your eyes off the road long enough to drive the length of a football field blind if you are travelling at 55 miles per hour.

Two epidemiological studies have linked talking on a cellphone directly to increased crash risk, using cellphone billing records to verify phone use of crash-involved drivers. A 2005 Institute study of drivers in Western Australia found that when drivers were talking on mobile phones there was a fourfold increased likelihood of a crash resulting in injury to the driver. 10 The findings were consistent with 1997 research that showed phone use among Canadian drivers was associated with a fourfold increase in the risk of a crash involving property damage but no injury. 11

The effects of handheld cellphone use on safety-critical events, such as crashes, near-crashes, traffic conflicts and lane drifts, have been examined in naturalistic studies that continuously videotape drivers and monitor their driving. In these studies, the odds of a safety-critical event were significantly higher when drivers were dialing a cellphone, placing a call, or texting, but not when drivers were talking or listening. 5, 7, 12 These studies provide precise information about what drivers are doing. However, crashes are very rare, and the crashes that do occur are mostly minor. It is unknown how well less severe events like traffic conflicts and near-crashes predict actual crash risk, especially the risk of more serious crashes.

To keep you safe on the road (and for the safety of others you share the road with), we recommend keeping your cellphone in your pocket and your eyes on the road!  In the event that an auto accident occurs, please contact our office as soon as possible.  

5 Fitch, G.A.; Soccolich, S.A.; Guo, F.; McClafferty, J.; Fang, Y.; Olson, R.L.; Perez, M.A.; Hanowski, R.J.; Hankey, J.M.; and Dingus, T.A. 2013. The impact of hand-held and hands-free cell phone use on driving performance and safety-critical event risk. Report no. DOT HS 811-757. Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

7 Klauer, S.G.; Guo, F.; Simons-Morton, B.G.; Ouimet, M.C.; Lee, S.E.; and Dingus, T.A. 2014. Distracted driving and risk of road crashes among novice and experienced drivers. New England Journal of Medicine 370:54-9.

10 McEvoy, S.P.; Stevenson, M.R.; McCartt, A.T.; Woodward, M.; Haworth, C.; Palamara, P.; and Cercarelli, R. 2005. Role of mobile phones in motor vehicle crashes resulting in hospital

attendance: a case-crossover study. British Medical Journal 331(7514):428-30.

11 Redelmeier, D.A. and Tibshirani, R.J. 1997. Association between cellular-telephone calls and motor vehicle collisions. The New England Journal of Medicine 336:453-58.

12 Olson, R.L.; Hanowski, R.J.; Hickman, J.S.; and Bocanegra, J. 2009. Driver distraction in commercial vehicle operations. Report No. FMCSA-RRR-09-242. Washington, DC: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

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