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Cellphones create driving dangers

By Tara Baukus Mello ·
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Posted: 10 am ET

If you think the only danger for a driver using a cellphone is the distraction from the phone itself, think again. A recent study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that drivers who use cellphones for phone calls while on the road are more likely to have other dangerous driving behaviors, such as speeding, not using a seat belt, driving while drowsy, and using the phone to send texts or emails.

The 2012 Traffic Safety Culture Index, a nationwide study that was released earlier this month, found that drivers who said they used their cellphones "fairly often" or "regularly" were more likely to engage in other dangerous driving practices in their cars than respondents who reported they never used a cellphone while driving.

Risks of driving with cellphones

Dangerous behavior Cellphone-using drivers Noncellphone-using drivers
Speeding 65% 31%
Driving drowsy 44% 14%
Driving without a seat belt 29% 16%
Sending text or email 53% 3%
Source: 2012 Traffic Safety Culture Index.

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicate that there are more than 3,000 deaths and nearly 500,000 injuries annually due to car crashes involving distraction, but the agency notes that these numbers are likely lower than reality since it is challenging to determine what role distraction plays in many car accidents.

Do you text while driving? Are you less cautious when you're on your cellphone while driving?

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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February 06, 2013 at 7:04 pm

to Nativeguide--
Nothing so important that it won't wait until you pull over & stop.

February 06, 2013 at 7:02 pm

In answer to "Nativeguide" re Noncellphone people sending texts or emails: WE DON'T!!
Nothing is so important it can't wait until you pull over and STOP.

February 02, 2013 at 11:31 am

No credible study has ever actually demonstrated that talking on a cell phone while driving actually increases the likelihood of an accident. Here in California the rate of accidents has stayed the same since they banned cell phone use while driving. I personally can text and drive without taking my eyes off of the road because my phone has a keyboard on it...this is no more distracting than simply talking to someone while I drive.

January 30, 2013 at 6:33 pm

I agree with Anthony DeMarco - if it's against the law to talk & drive then why are the car companies putting computers in all new cars?? Who needs an App to view their pictures while they're driving? Is it just me or are the car companies NUTS!! The Dept of Transportation & the car companies are in bed with each other - one says its against the law to talk & drive & the other enables the driver, are you kidding me???

January 30, 2013 at 6:23 pm

Nativeguide, if they have a computer on board many things are possible.

donna james
January 30, 2013 at 6:19 pm

texting and driving, talking on a cell phone while driving? r u kidding me? How stupid and careless can anyone be

Jorge M.
January 30, 2013 at 5:48 pm

It never ceases to amaze me how dumb many people are. They will willingly endanger their own life/family and that of other motorists and pedestrians for what? so they can talk smack or text B.S. while driving. These people not only should lose their driver's license, they should go to jail and be heavily fined for talking or texting while driving. If they are that braindead, they don't belong operating a motorised piece of machinery that can be lethal in the hands of a distracted driver. It's incomprehensible that these people are not removed from operating a vehicle until they prove they are worthy of a driver's license.

January 30, 2013 at 4:10 pm

How are the Noncellphone-using drivers sendind texts or emails?