Study: Phones, Electronic Devices Account for up to 25% of Nation’s Auto Accidents

AT&T "The Last Text"

Cell phones and other electronic devices may make our lives more convenient but they’re making it less safe to be on the road. According to a new study, phones and other gadgets are responsible for up to 25% of U.S. car crashes, Reuter reports.

The study, conducted by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), reviewed over 350 scientific papers published in the last decade and found that drivers are distracted about half of the time they’re on the road. This is a big problem as distracted driving accounted for 16% of traffic fatalities in 2009 and 5,500 fatalities (per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). Cell phones provided the biggest distraction, with texting while driving being particularly dangerous.

"When it comes to distracted driving, one thing is clear: any activities that take extended focus away from the primary task of driving are both unsafe and unwise," said Lynda Tran, spokeswoman for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

So what can states do to combat the problem of distracted driving? The GHSA recommends a ban on hand-held cell phones, even hands-free sets in some cases, as well as a texting ban for all drivers. However, the organization acknowledges that enforcing such bans is difficult and that there is little evidence that existing bans have reduced injuries and crashes.

"Despite all that has been written about driver distraction, there is still a lot that we do not know," GHSA executive director Barbara Harsha said in a statement. "Clearly, more studies need to be done addressing both the scope of the problem and how to effectively address it."

In the meantime, here’s a video about the dangers of texting while driving that may make drivers think twice about using their phone when on the road (don't worry, it's not one of those horrifying, gory PSAs).


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Categories: Gadgets and Gizmos

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