have been numerous studies that have sought to correlate texting or
talking on a mobile phone while driving with an increase in traffic
accidents and fatalities. There have been several studies that claim
to find the link between texting and an increased chance of accidents
and those studies have resulted in bans on texting and driving and
talking and driving in some states.A new scientific
study conducted by Fernando Wilson and Jim Stimpson of the
University of North Texas Health Science Center has used accident
reports obtained from the NHTSA and information on cell phone
ownership and data on text message volume from the FCC to create an
estimate of how many people are killed by talking or texting on cell
phones. According to Wilson and Stimpson, as many as 16,000 people
from 2001 to 2007 were killed on the nation's highways directly by
texting or talking and driving.The pair of researchers wrote
in the American journal of Public Health, "Our results suggested
that recent and rapid increases in texting volumes have resulted in
thousands of additional road fatalities in the United States."
Wilson told Reuters in a telephone interview, "Since roughly
2001-2002, texting volumes have increased by several hundred percent.
Since 2001 our model predicts that about 16,000 people have died
since then that we attribute to the increase in texting volume in the
United States."The pair of researchers estimate that
with every million new cell phone subscribers the number of deaths
caused by distracted driving rise 19%. The pair wrote in their report
that in 2008, about 1 in 6 fatal vehicle collisions resulted from
distracted driving. The exact number is 5,870 people. Wilson admits
that the only way to curb texting and driving or talking on the phone
and driving is to have better enforcement methods. He also admits he
isn't sure what those methods are.Wilson told Reuters,
"I guess a perfect solution would be installing cell phone
jammers in every car but that is not going to happen. Unlike drunk
driving, where you have effective enforcement mechanisms you don't
have that with texting. The cop just has to get lucky and see you
texting while driving."A good example of the problem
with these bans is that despite the ban on texting and driving
enacted in Raleigh, N.C. in 2009, there have been
few tickets written as a result. The reason for the few
tickets is just as Wilson stated, catching drivers in the act is
difficult.A spokesman for the Highway Patrol in N.C. stated,
"It’s an excellent law; it's just that a trooper has to
articulate that a person is in fact texting and not looking at their
phone number or making a phone call."Another study found
that the bans on cell phones were more
effective in dense urban areas than in rural areas. Yet
another study has found that bans on cell phone use while driving has
not reduced accidents in areas when accident rates before
and after bans went into effect are compared.
quote: I don't think anyone would care if the texters were the ones dying.
quote: Many people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so.
quote: U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today released updated 2009 fatality and injury data showing that highway deaths fell to 33,808 for the year, the lowest number since 1950. The record-breaking decline in traffic fatalities occurred even while estimated vehicle miles traveled in 2009 increased by 0.2 percent over 2008 levels.
quote: It has been determined that for some reason, talking on a cell phone even when hands free is much more distracting than talking with another person in the car
quote: A good example of the problem with these bans...there have been few tickets written as a result...catching drivers in the act is difficult...another study has found that bans on cell phone use while driving has not reduced accidents...
quote: Wilson told Reuters, "I guess a perfect solution would be installing cell phone jammers in every car but that is not going to happen. Unlike drunk driving, where you have effective enforcement mechanisms you don't have that with texting. The cop just has to get lucky and see you texting while driving."
quote: How many people are killed driving while stupid? I'd like to see that study.
quote: Wilson told Reuters, "I guess a perfect solution would be installing cell phone jammers in every car but that is not going to happen.