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|
|Driving without a seat belt||29%||16%|
|Sending text or email||53%||3%|
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.