Tags: cellphone | texting | crash

Report: Talking, Not Texting Causes Wrecks

Friday, 28 Mar 2014 01:05 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

Cellphone use is being blamed on 26 percent of all motor vehicle crashes, but it's drivers talking, not texting, that is causing the accidents.

Only about five percent of the cellphone-related crashes were caused by people texting or checking their status updates, reveals the National Safety Council's annual report, released this week.  But the other 21 percent of the accidents involved drivers who were chatting on their phones, either while holding them or using hands-free devices or their phone's speaker button.

"Intuitively, texting has more elements of distraction because you’re looking away from the road, but people are more comfortable talking on the phone and probably do it more often," Kara Macek, communications director of the Governors Highway Safety Association told The Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch.  "We suspect a lot of this data is also underreported simply because people will not own up to the fact that they were distracted and caused a crash."

That's because drivers using cell phones see only about half of their surroundings, said David Teater, senior director of transportation initiatives for the National Safety Council.

With texting increasing in popularity over phone calls, tapping out messages will likely get even more drivers in trouble in the future. One third of Americans favors texting over telephone calls, according to a Pew Research Center study,  sending an average of 41 texts a day. That number rises among young adults between the ages of 19-25, who average 110 texts a day, MarketWatch reported.

Safety experts are advocating a federal ban on all cellphone use while driving, including the use of hands-free devices.

Federal law bans train engineers and drivers, along with commercial truck and bus drivers, from using cellphones. Only 12 states and the District of Columbia ban hand-held cellphone use, while 42 states and Washington, D.C., ban texting behind the wheel. No states ban all cellphone use by drivers, but 37 states and D.C. do not allow novice drivers to use cellphones.

But even if a federal ban is enacted, it may have very little effect on the nation's accident rates, a new study suggests, saying that while driving habits change, people don't really give up their cellphone calls.

The recent study by Cheng Cheng, a graduate student in economics at Texas A&M University, uses data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s National Occupant Protection Use Survey to estimate how cellphone bans affect drivers' behavior. He learned that while visible cellphone use drops by about 50 percent when states enforce a ban, that means that drivers change how they use them to avoid getting a ticket.

However, Cheng said his research shows that while some drivers are more safe while cellphone bans are in place, others drive dangerously while trying to hide their calls from the police, reports The New York Times.

Related Stories:

© 2015 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Study: Chances of Dying in a Car Crash Plunged Over 3 Years

Thursday, 29 Jan 2015 10:08 AM

Safety researchers say the chances of dying in a crash in a late-model car or light truck fell by more than a third over . . .

California Declares Electronic Cigarettes a Health Threat

Thursday, 29 Jan 2015 08:43 AM

California health officials Wednesday declared electronic cigarettes a health threat that should be strictly regulated l . . .

US Sheriffs Expand Concerns about Waze Mobile Traffic App

Thursday, 29 Jan 2015 06:18 AM

Not only does a feature of a popular Google Inc. mobile app put police officers' lives in danger, it also interferes wit . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved