Cell phones & driving injured over 24,000 people in '09

auto crash

Last year distractions caused 5,474, or 16% of all fatal crashes, in the United States. Out of that total, 995 of those distractions were contributed directly with cell phone use. Cell phones were also responsible for over 24,000 car accidents with injuries.

These numbers are "only the tip of the iceburg" according to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, as many states and local communities do not document whether a distraction was the cause of an accident while writing the report. He went on to say, "studies show that when a driver looks away from the road to send an e-mail or text message, he or she is concentrating on something other than the road for 4.6 of every six seconds," LaHood continued. "At 55 miles per hour, that is like driving the length of a football field while blindfolded."

Drivers 30 to 39 are, according to PC World, the most likely to be involved in an accident involving a cell phone. This group accounted for 24% of all fatal crashes involving cell phones. Drivers under 20 years of age accounted for 16%, while drivers 20 to 29 accounted for 21% and the drivers 40 to 59 age group accounted for 20%.

AAA also released a study that found about 88 percent felt texting and sending email while driving was a serious problem, 80 percent would support a law banning texting and sending email while driving. However, 70 percent admitted to talking on the phone while driving and 24 percent said they had sent a text message.

The stats were released in time for the National Distracted Driving Summit in Washington, D.C. to be held Tuesday.

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35 Comments

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If you are only endangering yourself then so be it. The problem is that these inconsiderate people are endangering everyone around them.

As for hands-free, it is no safer then hand-held. The distraction comes from the conversation, not the device. The science says so. http://www.iihs.org/research/qanda/cellphones.aspx

As for those people who think they can simultaneously operate a motor vehicle and talk on the phone, drunk drivers think the same way.

Bearing in mind of course that LaHood is anti-driving -- he's come out & said he wants to make it more convenient, easier to Not drive -- while the AAA sells insurance, & they'd just never resort to scare tactics like all the other insurance companies. ;-)

The stats were released in time for the National Distracted Driving Summit in Washington, D.C. to be held Tuesday.

Assuming they don't get too distracted on the drive in. :-)

All cell phone use should be against the law while driving, period!!

Not just texting.

My kid just got ran off the road because of some moron running a stop while talking on the phone. Kid swerved to miss the person and ran up over curb. Busted the passenger side wheel/ball joint, everything! Wrecked my car!

cork1958 said,
My kid just got ran off the road because of some moron running a stop while talking on the phone. Kid swerved to miss the person and ran up over curb. Busted the passenger side wheel/ball joint, everything! Wrecked my car!

Why wasn't your son paying attention. Your head needs to be on a 360° swivel. That's why your car is equipped with mirrors. If you are staring straight ahead, of course you won't see impending doom approaching from the side/rear.

gtfo. studies show driving while talking on the phone is no more dangerous than talking to passengers, yelling at your kids in the back seat.

People need to realize they are in control of their own destiny.

dotf said,

Why wasn't your son paying attention. Your head needs to be on a 360° swivel. That's why your car is equipped with mirrors. If you are staring straight ahead, of course you won't see impending doom approaching from the side/rear.

gtfo. studies show driving while talking on the phone is no more dangerous than talking to passengers, yelling at your kids in the back seat.

People need to realize they are in control of their own destiny.

4-direction stop sign? Ever heard of those? I assume that was most likely the case with the kid in question. You stop at the sign, then you start driving when it is your turn to do so. If the person approaching from say the right doesn't stop at the sign, you're screwed and need to react quickly. Good thing nobody got hurt... sorry about the car, though, considering the economic situation and that the insurance will be unlikely to pay up without increasing the insurance cost.

1. ban on talking while driving ---> 2. blue tooth ---> 3. people hate blue tooth ---> 4. more people texting ----> 5. more people dying.

mattbiernat said,
1. ban on talking while driving ---> 2. blue tooth ---> 3. people hate blue tooth ---> 4. more people texting ----> 5. more people dying.

The ban affects both texting and talking, not just talking.

DragonKid said,
If my roommate continues to text while driving, he'll join this list. I don't like riding with him because of it.

I'd say as a passenger, if I see the driver texting, I will ask them to pull over and let me out rather than continue to enjoy the ride. There were ads just like that on billboards back in the day... where it would show a passenger being seen through a rear-view mirror, holding a sign that says something like: "Wanna stop for an ice cream after you mutilate us?"

Don't be silent when you see the person that your life might depend on doing something that he shouldn't be.

that car must belong to a skateboard enthusiast . where the skid plates at?

all jokes aside, i can't stand driving on the same road with people who use their phones while driving.
idiots should be arrested like drunk drivers...

What a load of crap. Yes, some people can't do 2 things at once, but many can. It was tested and shown in studies that talking on your cell phone was no more dangerous then talking to a passenger in the car.

Also, how come vehicle crash and death numbers have fallen over 20% since 1995?

The key question is when is the last time anyone was talking on the phone and doing college math and English? These are the same group that does the test, and claims it is worst then drinking and driving, and when you look at the test, you have to talk and do math, while driving.
I was involved in an accident where the idiot pulled in front of me, and I hit him. Because i used my phone (hands free kit) within 5 minutes of the accident, the cause of the accident was recorded as 'distracted driving'. In court, the judge found me not guilty, but refused to remove the distracted driving, pointing out it was only for classification.

thejohnnyq said,
What a load of crap. Yes, some people can't do 2 things at once, but many can. It was tested and shown in studies that talking on your cell phone was no more dangerous then talking to a passenger in the car.

i disagree. a passenger in the car is aware if the driver's attention is quickly needed to make proper turns or lane change. a person on the phone would be aware of that and would continue the conversation normally with the driver. besides, the other key factor here is also that the driver is using only one hand while using a cell phone to drive the car and if texting, that takes away even more concentration.

thejohnnyq said,
What a load of crap. Yes, some people can't do 2 things at once, but many can. It was tested and shown in studies that talking on your cell phone was no more dangerous then talking to a passenger in the car.

Also, how come vehicle crash and death numbers have fallen over 20% since 1995?

The key question is when is the last time anyone was talking on the phone and doing college math and English? These are the same group that does the test, and claims it is worst then drinking and driving, and when you look at the test, you have to talk and do math, while driving.
I was involved in an accident where the idiot pulled in front of me, and I hit him. Because i used my phone (hands free kit) within 5 minutes of the accident, the cause of the accident was recorded as 'distracted driving'. In court, the judge found me not guilty, but refused to remove the distracted driving, pointing out it was only for classification.

Not sure where you get your information. The testing procedure I watched compared drunk driving vs phone conversation (both phone convo with questions that required serious thinking and questions that required little to no thought to answer) and the same people were doing much worse on the phone than they were doing while legally drunk.

In my country, where Black Berry prevails, I've come to the conclusion that a new religion has been born. Why? Well, you see everyone "praying" while they're driving, and that really ****es me off. There are several people who block even highways and important turns for more than two signal changes. I would wish they could learn their lesson, but only life will tell.

around here it's goten to the point you can't drive anywhere without seeing someone on a cell phoen while driving, heck its probably over 50% of people driving have it out it seems like.....

I've nearly been in an accident with somebody on a mobile.
I was in passenger seat, going across a junction with slip road style entrance. Guy on mobile doesn't stop to look, thankfully my driver noticed and swerved.

All handheld phone use should be banned, and only handsfree allowed.
There should also be a law that all new cars + vans should be fitted with car kits or Bluetooth.

acnpt said,

All handheld phone use should be banned, and only handsfree allowed.
There should also be a law that all new cars + vans should be fitted with car kits or Bluetooth.

Agreed.

daniel_rh said,
+24000 that have learned the lesson

Some maybe, not all. Not many people learn their lesson the first time. They just think that looking up at the road more often will make things better. Some people just don't get it. I don't answer calls while driving and if I have to send a text, it's either while parked or stopped at a light where I know I'll have time to type the whole thing without having to worry about the light changing.

daniel_rh said,
+24000 that have learned the lesson

Unfortunately, people that already knew were affected. Who knows how badly injured the innocent were?

Nagamasa said,

Unfortunately, people that already knew were affected. Who knows how badly injured the innocent were?


exactly, 24000 isnt exactly the people who were on the phone, it includes innocent people who were injured b/c someone else on the road who hit them was on the phone.

Breach said,
I can't believe how many irresponsible drivers I see every day, heck I've seen people texting while driving.

That's not the worst, though. I've seen people eating soup while driving at over 65 on the highway. Holding the bowl in one one hand and the spoon in the other. Imagine how well that's going to work when they need to react quickly. I've also talked with people on IRC while they openly admitted to driving on a highway. I always tell them that they're idiots and should focus on driving, but no-one ever listens.

Crytel said,
Damn people driving. They should pass a law or something.

I know some people who can drive normal while on their cell phone, but the majority of drivers seriously have a hard time multi-tasking.

Biglo said,

I know some people who can drive normal while on their cell phone, but the majority of drivers seriously have a hard time multi-tasking.

+1 driving is like second nature to everyone next we won't be able to talk on the phone while walking.

Crytel said,
Damn people driving. They should pass a law or something.

some provinces/states in north america have banned use of cell phone without handfree kit and completely banned texting in car. however, its like speeding. everyone still does it until they are caught.

d4diesel said,

some provinces/states in north america have banned use of cell phone without handfree kit and completely banned texting in car. however, its like speeding. everyone still does it until they are caught.

The US is a bit late doing that. In most countries in Europe (if not every) holding your mobile phone while driving (you don't have to text or talk to get a ticket) has been banned - in some of them for more than a decade now.

I can't count the number of times i see a near crash, or someone driving slowly/badly and commenting to myself or the passenger(s) that "i bet the person is on their cellphone", 90% of the time i'm right.

Ruran said,
I can't count the number of times i see a near crash, or someone driving slowly/badly and commenting to myself or the passenger(s) that "i bet the person is on their cellphone", 90% of the time i'm right.

Yeah the same thing always happens to me and most of the time is a female (No offense ladies but your the ones always on the fone while driving)

Ruran said,
I can't count the number of times i see a near crash, or someone driving slowly/badly and commenting to myself or the passenger(s) that "i bet the person is on their cellphone", 90% of the time i'm right.

Always. Over the past year, I've seen maybe 2-3 drunk drivers on the road swerving. Don't think that compares anywhere to the number of the idiots I see on a daily basis talking on their cell phone...