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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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