Texting, dialing while driving raises crash risk

Jan 2 2014, 3:18am CST | by

Texting, dialing cellphone while driving raises crash risk especially for teens, study finds

A sophisticated, real-world study confirms that dialing, texting or reaching for a cellphone while driving raises the risk of a crash or near-miss, especially for younger drivers. But the research also produced a surprise: Simply talking on the phone did not prove dangerous, as it has in other studies.

This one did not distinguish between handheld and hands-free devices — a major weakness.

And even though talking doesn't require drivers to take their eyes off the road, it's hard to talk on a phone without first reaching for it or dialing a number —things that raise the risk of a crash, researchers note.

Earlier work with simulators, test-tracks and cellphone records suggests that risky driving increases when people are on cellphones, especially teens. The 15-to-20-year-old age group accounts for 6 percent of all drivers but 10 percent of traffic deaths and 14 percent of police-reported crashes with injuries.

For the new study, researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute installed video cameras, global positioning systems, lane trackers, gadgets to measure speed and acceleration, and other sensors in the cars of 42 newly licensed drivers 16 or 17 years old, and 109 adults with an average of 20 years behind the wheel.

The risk of a crash or near-miss among young drivers increased more than sevenfold if they were dialing or reaching for a cellphone and fourfold if they were sending or receiving a text message. The risk also rose if they were reaching for something other than a phone, looking at a roadside object or eating.

Among older drivers, only dialing a cellphone increased the chances of a crash or near miss. However, that study began before texting became more common, so researchers don't know if it is as dangerous for them as it is for teens.

Engaging in distractions increased as time went on among novice drivers but not among experienced ones.

The National Institutes of Health and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration paid for the research. Results are in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine.

David Strayer, a University of Utah scientist who has done research on this topic, said the findings that merely talking on a phone while driving was not dangerous is "completely at odds with what we found."

The study methods and tools may have underestimated risks because video cameras capture wandering eyes but can't measure cognitive distraction, he said.

"You don't swerve so much when you're talking on a cellphone; you just might run through a red light," and sensors would not necessarily pick up anything amiss unless a crash occurred, Strayer said.

As for texting, "we all agree that things like taking your eyes off the road are dangerous," he said.

At least 12 states ban the use of hand-held cellphones while driving and 41 ban text messaging. All cellphone use is banned by 37 states for novice or teen drivers, says the National Conference of State Legislatures, citing information from the Governor's Highway Safety Administration.

___

Online:

Distracted driving info: http://bit.ly/1d3P1wf

State-by-state laws: http://bit.ly/1fBkXYC

___

Marilynn Marchione can be followed at http://twitter.com/MMarchioneAP

Source: AP Business

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/31" rel="author">Associated Press</a>
The Associated Press (AP) is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

OPEC decides against oil production cut despite price slump
Viena, Nov 28 (IANS) The ministers of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries(OPEC) decided here Thursday to maintain its output level despite crude oil price fell to a four-year low level.
 
 
18th Saarc Summit concludes with one pact, several understandings
Kathmandu, Nov 27 (IANS) The 18th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) Summit concluded in Kathmandu Thursday with the adoption of a 36-point Kathmandu Declaration.
 
 
British supermarkets sold contaminated chicken
London, Nov 27 (IANS) Eight of the every 10 fresh chickens bought from British supermarkets this summer were contaminated with the potentially lethal food-poisoning bug campylobacter, the food watchdog has said.
 
 
SJVNL signs pact with Nepal for hydro-power plant
Kathmandu, Nov 27 (IANS) Indian public sector company Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd. (SJVNL) has signed a project development agreement with the Nepal government for executing the 900 MW Arun-III Hydro Electric Project in eastern Nepal, officials said Thursday.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

OPEC decides against oil production cut despite price slump
Viena, Nov 28 (IANS) The ministers of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries(OPEC) decided here Thursday to maintain its output level despite crude oil price fell to a four-year low level. The decision to...
Read more on Business Balla
 
12 killed in bus accident in Egypt
Cairo, Nov 28 (IANS) At least 12 people were killed and three others injured Thursday as a passenger bus overturned into a canal in Egypt's Beni Sweif province, around 120 km south of the capital Cairo, media reported...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Explosions, gun fire rock Kabul diplomatic enclave
Kabul, Nov 27 (IANS) Two explosions followed by gunfire rocked the diplomatic enclave here Thursday night, a security officer said. The area of the blast is close to the Tajikistan embassy. The incident occurred in...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Saarc leaders' wives ladies go sight-seeing at Bhaktapur
Kathmandu, Nov 27 (IANS) While the Saarc leaders conferred on regional matters at the tourist resort of Dhulikhel, their wives drove to the World Heritage Site of Bhaktapur to enjoy the sights of the ancient city. The...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Maria Shriver 'disgusted' by Miley Cyrus's party
Patrick Schwarzenegger's mother was ''disgusted'' by Miley Cyrus's birthday celebrations. Maria Shriver - who, along with Arnold Schwarzenegger, are the parents of the 21-year-old actor - is reportedly ''very worried''...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West planning nude photoshoot together?
Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West want to do a nude photoshoot together. The couple are reportedly keen to pose naked alongside each other, after the 34-year-old 'Keeping Up With The Kardashians' star recently stripped...
Read more on Celebrity Balla