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Texting and driving kills thousands say researchers  (Source: Reuters)
How many people are killed driving while stupid? I'd like to see that study.

There 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.

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Darwinism at its finest
By Lord 666 on 9/24/10, Rating: 0
RE: Darwinism at its finest
By Spivonious on 9/24/2010 9:57:41 AM , Rating: 5
I don't think anyone would care if the texters were the ones dying.

RE: Darwinism at its finest
By solarrocker on 9/24/2010 10:01:16 AM , Rating: 4
Providers would care, it might be the only way out of their contracts also though...

RE: Darwinism at its finest
By YashBudini on 9/24/2010 11:50:04 AM , Rating: 4
I don't think anyone would care if the texters were the ones dying.

People think that until it's one of their kids that dies.

And of course there's no acknowledgement how little emphasis their parents put on responsibility in the first place.

RE: Darwinism at its finest
By daniyarm on 9/24/2010 3:47:32 PM , Rating: 5
Then it's not only the kids fault, it is parents fault too. The first time I see my daughter text or talk on the phone without a headset, will be the last time I am paying for the phone and insurance and the last she'll be driving my car.

RE: Darwinism at its finest
By YashBudini on 9/24/2010 10:59:03 PM , Rating: 2
Clearly you are the exception.

But the problem with "its the parents fault" is that the parents are as stupid as their kids. There's no knowledge or common sense to pass along.

Many people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so.

Bertrand Russel

RE: Darwinism at its finest
By AssBall on 9/27/2010 12:43:04 PM , Rating: 2
You know I think what adds to the problem just as much as driver distraction is poor driving skills overall. I had to do three right hand corners for my drivers license, with 1 stoplight and 1 stop sign, in an automatic. A mentally retarded 6 year old could have passed.

If we adopted Finnish drivers licensing rules there would be a lot less crappy drivers on the road in the first place. There you actually have to learn more than driving rules, you have to learn driving skills. They set up a pretty tough road course you have to navigate quickly, some on wet pavement.

I'd rather be the passenger of a good driver using a cell phone than a sloppy, ignorant, overly cautious, or overly aggressive one. Some people just have no business operating a 4500 lb piece of complicated machinery in public.

RE: Darwinism at its finest
By Lerianis on 9/26/2010 10:49:30 PM , Rating: 2
Only in your mind. Are you going to ferry your daughter everywhere? Then stop with the bullcrap.

I knew a family who said that just 3 doors up from me..... LIE BIG TIME because you know what happened. As soon as the father and mother realized they would have to ferry their son everywhere? They backtracked real quick.

RE: Darwinism at its finest
By banthracis on 9/27/2010 10:30:20 AM , Rating: 1
It's called make them use public transportation instead.

You also aren't exactly setting a great example as a parent if you place more value on your ability to be lazy than the welfare and proper development of your child.

RE: Darwinism at its finest
By NesuD on 9/24/2010 10:03:17 AM , Rating: 3
Well unfortunately Technology is doing a piss poor job thinning said herd.
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.

Fact is there are fewer automotive fatalities today than at anytime since 1950. I would say that is far more newsworthy than this.

RE: Darwinism at its finest
By Homerboy on 9/24/10, Rating: -1
RE: Darwinism at its finest
By BobT on 9/24/2010 11:29:41 AM , Rating: 5
Actually it has a lot to do with "Tech". Todays automobiles compared with the ones from the 50s benefit greatly from technology that helps save lives. Air bags, suspension systems, braking systems, traction control systems, tires, auto body structural design, glass, padded dashes, lighting systems, all up and down the gamut of automotive design. Technology has made todays cars safer for STUPID drivers more than at any time in the past.

I see it as a race by the automotive industry to use technology to attempt to keep ahead of the stupid things people will do while driving.

RE: Darwinism at its finest
By goku on 9/24/2010 12:50:23 PM , Rating: 2
While these things have certainly helped, it does NOT account for the dramatic decline in vehicular deaths from 2007 to 2008 and so on. The reason for the decline is due to the poor economy; there is no single thing that could account for a decline like that in such a short period of time except for the economy. A poor economy disproportionately hurts the poor and the young (no gas money) and they just so happen to be the riskiest of drivers. Why else would subcompacts and pickup trucks have the exact same death rate while minivans and land yachts have the lowest death rate if it isn't because of the person behind the wheel? A perfect example to illustrate this dichotomy is the death rate difference between the Mercury Grand Marquis and the Ford Crown Victoria.
The Mercury Grand Marquis is rated higher to the point of being rated as "better than average" compared to the Crown Victoria's "average" rating despite the vehicles being nearly identical.

RE: Darwinism at its finest
By BobT on 9/24/2010 2:09:17 PM , Rating: 1
Your argument only reinforces the premise that technology is saving more lives. Think about it. What do the poor and the young drive? I'll answer that for you, older autos with less of the newer technologies. Therefore if less of them are on the road then the accidents that are happening are happening with newer autos that do a better job of protecting the STUPID inhabitants of those autos.

I am not saying that you don't have a valid point, but blaming the economy and its effect on the poor and young as the primary factor insinuates that the poor and the young are responsible for a greater share of bad drivers than the rest of the population. While this may be true of the young primarily due to inexperience, I have never seen the poor labeled by the insurance companies as bad drivers in general.

As far as the difference between the Grand Marquis and the Crown Vic, you have to look who uses each more carefully than just thinking that Grand Marquis is more expensive. The Crown Vic is a standard in the police car field. They tend to have more accidents than the average population so would disproportionately affect the numbers. I am not saying the police are bad drivers, they just happen to be in unsafe conditions much more often than the general public. They may be sitting beside the road writing a ticket and some STUPID cell phone user runs into their parked Crown Vic and kills them. Happens way too often.

RE: Darwinism at its finest
By goku on 9/24/2010 10:11:06 PM , Rating: 2
If you compare any vehicle say the Camry vs the Lexus ES, despite the vehicles being nearly identical, the more expensive vehicle generally has lower losses.. HOWEVER.. Funny thing, the Cadillac Escalade has a higher insurance liability than the Chevy Suburban, Tahoe, etc. and I think you can guess why... As for insurance companies not distinguishing the rich from the poor, they do, just in ways you're not aware of.. Think credit score, zip code and the vehicle they drive. Check out this chart:
the Chevy Corvette is one of the lowest losses vehicle while the Scion tC, Cobalt, Civic Si, Hyundai Tiburon are some of the highest loss vehicles, which just so happen to be driven by the poor and the young... While it's technically true that a young, poor person can be a good, responsible driver, insurance is based upon statistics, and statistically, that person is more likely to be a high liability.

If the economy ever does recover to the way it was before, expect the accident rate to climb.

RE: Darwinism at its finest
By Mitch101 on 9/24/2010 12:51:44 PM , Rating: 2
Adding to your list.
As an owner of a car with Sync there are many additional things I can do without needing to take my hands off the wheel.

Talk on the phone, Voice dialing, Answer call is a button/voice command from my steering wheel.

Voice commands for controlling my music, weather, stock reports, daily news.

I can reply to a text message. Yes I said that. Sync will read me a text message and I can reply to it without ever taking my hands off the wheel or eyes off the road.

I never have to reach for anything except the thermostat. Its all build into the steering wheel and uses voice commands.

My wife's onstar if she is in an accident OnStar can use onboard GPS to determine where she is and send help.

The problem is people are building better idiots.

RE: Darwinism at its finest
By torpor on 9/24/2010 4:58:53 PM , Rating: 3

All you have to do is look at the crash test the IIHS ran to celebrate 50 years of work. They smashed a 2009 Chevy Malibu into a 1959 Chevy Bel Air.

It wasn't even close. The driver of the Bel Air would be pulp. The driver of the Mailbu would walk away.

Here's the site and video:

If you watch, pay special attention to the steering wheel in the Bel Air. The driver's head mostly keeps it from exiting through the roof.

RE: Darwinism at its finest
By goku on 9/24/2010 10:16:48 PM , Rating: 2
Don't forget however the bel air not only had an "X" frame which was a piece of shit in every way including a car accident but also was rusted as shit as you can see from the plume of "rust colored smoke" after the accident. Take a car from the 60s with a ladder frame and not rusted to nothing and maybe things will change. Fact is, airbags have allowed manufacturers today to build cars with smaller crumple zones, which while great for maximizing space, shitty for crash safety sans airbags.. I'd much rather the $800 or so spent on airbags actually be spent on better body material, that way I have more room in my engine bay to work in and around. (Think Volvo 240 vs Toyota Yaris)

RE: Darwinism at its finest
By Lerianis on 9/26/2010 10:51:26 PM , Rating: 2
Why would you need to work in the engine bay? Most cars today are made so that unless you are an auto mechanic that SPECIALIZES in that type of car, you wouldn't know how to fix anything.

RE: Darwinism at its finest
By fishman on 9/24/2010 10:41:13 AM , Rating: 2
Not only that, if you assume that more people are texting today that in 2001-2007, more people are using cell phones today than over that time period, and smartphones today are even more distracting, there should be a jump in fatalities now instead of a decrease. So I call this 16,000 dead figure bogus. Sure, there are some killed, but not nearly as many as they claim.

RE: Darwinism at its finest
By sleepeeg3 on 9/24/2010 12:30:36 PM , Rating: 3
Heck, I have almost been run over by morons texting and swerving around on their bikes! I have even seen idiots on skateboards texting. I don't care how skilled you think you are, but not watching where you are going for 10-20 seconds is going to end up injuring someone, hopefully just your future Darwin award winning self.

RE: Darwinism at its finest
By Lerianis on 9/26/2010 10:54:15 PM , Rating: 1
No, it won't. Personally, I did a test where I rode my bike with my eyes closed for 30 seconds.... I didn't crash into anything at all, and my friends said I didn't even come close to crashing into anything.

Now, when you are in a car that is moving MUCH FASTER? Yeah, even 5 seconds of distraction can cost you, though I wonder if this is equivalent to changing the station on a radio? Makes you think, doesn't it?

RE: Darwinism at its finest
By Fracture on 9/24/2010 1:14:14 PM , Rating: 2
This exactly. Too bad they don't only take themselves out.

RE: Darwinism at its finest
By marvdmartian on 9/24/2010 3:01:13 PM , Rating: 2
If only they could figure out a way to just kill themselves, and not innocent others.

Of course, the simplest method to discourage driving and texting would just be to have the auto manufacturers and the cell phone manufacturers conspire together. When the car is moving more than 5mph, it sends out a signal the cell phone can pick up. Doesn't have to be a powerful signal... we don't want to tick off someone trying to text while standing at a crosswalk! Anyways, when the cell phone senses that signal being generated, it doesn't allow you to send a text.

Perfect solution? No, since it would also stop any passengers in your vehicle from texting. But it's a lot more friendly than my other idea, which is, when the car senses that you've just sent out a text, a Wile E. Coyote-esque boxing glove on a giant spring pops out and punches you in the head!! ;)

By WinstonSmith on 9/24/2010 10:45:40 AM , Rating: 3
An answer to your question: I include as "stupid" anyone talking on a cell phone while driving who has no pressing need to be doing so. 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. Want some personal evidence of this? Keep an eye on the shopping cart driving habits of the "honey, what should I buy?" morons in the grocery store. How aware are they of their surroundings? Then imagine them using their phones in a 3000 pound vehicle moving at 80 mph.

So stop the > BSing < on your cell phones while driving!!!

By sleepeeg3 on 9/24/2010 12:40:15 PM , Rating: 1
"Faulty brake systems" hmm? Funny how they must have worked every time before that... Methinks you told us this, because you are trying to justify not paying attention to the road.

There was a study that showed only 1-2% of people have the ability to carry on multiple tasks, without compromising their ability to perform any one of those tasks. Which means that 98-99% of people who think they are skilled enough to talk on their phones or text while driving - are full of it.

By Chocobollz on 9/24/2010 3:07:56 PM , Rating: 3
While I agree with you that talking with handset while driving doesn't necessarily more dangerous than talking directly to another passenger, it seems that you forgot to take human physichology into consideration.

In reality, when you're talking to another people in the car, most of the time, both of you and them will have some sort of awareness of the fact that their lives is in your hands and so they'll try to protect you from any dangerous action while driving. For instance, let's say you're talking to 2 people in the rear seat and you're not paying attention to the road, I bet at least one of the person you're talking with will try to remind you if they feel something dangerous is happening, like maybe you're too close to a car in front of you or something. And they will try to assist you while you're not paying attention to the traffic by looking at the traffic ahead. What they're thinking basically is, if you're dead, then they're dead too. So I'd say, they wouldn't try to do something stupid to distract you from the road, unless they're trying to kill both of you :p.

Now, it wouldn't be the same with the person you're talking on the phone. They wouldn't have the same awareness even if they knows that you're driving. If you're dead, they wouldn't be dead, because they aren't in the car with you. So they're less concerned about your current situation (that you're driving and need to focus on the road ahead).

By Reclaimer77 on 9/27/2010 12:21:09 PM , Rating: 2
There was a study that showed 90% of all studies were bull :)

Seriously, 98% of the population can't do two things at once? You honestly believe that?

Plus your very premise is flawed. Sorry but to an experienced driver like me and millions of others, I would be lying if I told you driving took 100% of my focus, concentration, and mental activity. Seriously, it's not like flying a fighter jet while doing calculus or something. I could drive in my sleep, in fact I'm pretty sure I DID drive in my sleep a few times when I was younger, but I digress.

So save the biased studies and false logic. Try using more of YOUR brain and you'll see what I mean.

By Dr of crap on 9/27/2010 1:05:23 PM , Rating: 2
I have to agree with the above post.

And the reason that the poll has such high numbers is the fact the for the most part people are way more stupid than any other time I can think of. Now I'm just sigh of 50, but in my life I don't know of anytime when stupidy was so wide spread.

And don't get me started on bad or non-existant parenting.
I have two drving teens, and they know just from common sense NOT TO text while driving.
If you are to stupid - then maybe common sense says you should not stay here to long!

By Wolfpup on 9/27/2010 1:45:57 PM , Rating: 2
Why was this thumbed down?

Yeah, texting while driving is stupid. Yes, talking on the phone while driving can also be dangerous, but should only be banned if they're also going to ban having passengers in the car, and eating in the car.

Will they do that too? If not, leave cell phones alone. Heck, ban radios too. Of course all that stuff can also help with boredom and help retain focus.

Talking on a phone while driving isn't "stupid" in and of itself. It's only stupid if for some reason you're not bright enough to quit talking if you need more attention on the road.

By chunkymonster on 9/24/2010 10:38:29 AM , Rating: 2
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...

All reason why these laws are ludicrous and tools of the Nanny State. These bans and laws should be repealed and the politicians who enacted them are enemies of responsible citizens. Personal responsibility has no place in today's society and laws like these are passed to mitigate the actions and stupidity of the lowest common denominator of society.

By sleepeeg3 on 9/24/2010 12:45:08 PM , Rating: 2
If the lowest common denominator causes the deaths of the highest common denominator, the law makes sense. Based on studies that have shown how much multi-tasking while driving compromises driving ability, talking on your cell phone puts everyone else at risk. Laws are enacted to protect the majority of society, not the individual.

By Reclaimer77 on 9/27/2010 12:10:55 PM , Rating: 3
I have to agree.

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."

More justification for nanny state policies. How are there better "enforcement mechanisms" for drunk driving as apposed to texting? Cops have to get lucky and see you driving while drunk as well, or get lucky and catch you at a DWI checkpoint. He makes it seem like there are magical drunk driving detection sensors that exist on our roads to catch these people. For both offenses the same "mechanism" is in place. You have to observe someone doing it and then do something about it.

It's really alarming to me how, in the effort to enact new anti-texting laws, they see the need to minimize drunk driving and make texting to be the bigger threat. This is absurd and dangerous thinking. But, sadly, typical. States need money badly and here is a nice cash cow all neatly wrapped in the guise of public safety. It practically sells itself in this day and age. People will go along with it because, hey, we all want to be nice and safe right? 16 thousand deaths that could be prevented, in a time where most experts agree vehicle safety is reaching it's peak, doesn't sound quite right does it.

Is anyone else a little apprehensive that his idea of a "perfect solution" is mandatory forced cell-jammers in all vehicles?? Can we stop with the fascism please!

By dgingeri on 9/24/2010 3:56:09 PM , Rating: 2
How many people are killed driving while stupid? I'd like to see that study.

That's pretty easy: 100%. If you're driving smart and obeying the rules, and everyone around you is driving smart and obeying the rules, then you won't be in an accident. All accidents are because of someone driving stupid.

RE: Easy
By IvanAndreevich on 9/27/2010 2:38:07 AM , Rating: 2
That's pretty ignorant. Sometimes brakes actually fail, tires are blown, etc. The definition of an "accident". Also, even if YOU are obeying the rules, there is nothing you can do if an idiot runs a red light, and T-bones you. Doesn't mean you were stupid.

RE: Easy
By Dr of crap on 9/27/2010 1:09:41 PM , Rating: 2
If you keep your car in top shape things like brakes failing don't happen.
I've never had my brakes not work, a tire blow out on me, my steering not work, my car just stop on me, or slide into the ditch because of snow or ice.
Maintaining you car is all part of driving smart, which leads to no crashes.
KNOWING how to drive in all weather conditions is too!

By clovell on 9/27/2010 12:39:10 PM , Rating: 2
I've texted and driven before. Yeah - I'm an idiot; I try not to do it because I know my driving really suffers when I do. I usually wait til I get where I'm going to text.

I've never initiated a text conversation while driving - I only respond. My car has hands-free voice recognition calling, so calling is always easier. If they could somehow go one further and have the system read my text messages to me, and respond via text with hands-free voice recognition, I'd love it.

I think we'd see this texting & driving mess get cut down to size.

RE: Idea
By Dr of crap on 9/27/2010 1:11:38 PM , Rating: 2
It's called Sync - from Ford

RE: Idea
By clovell on 9/29/2010 12:39:07 PM , Rating: 2
I have synch and reading is only supported on a few phones (like the iPhone). I don't think it will actually translate voice to text back.

It's criminal
By Beenthere on 9/25/2010 12:30:05 AM , Rating: 2
Anyone caught using a cellphone/texting while operating a motorized vehicle should be executed for attempted mass murder.

RE: It's criminal
By ipay on 9/25/2010 7:15:18 AM , Rating: 2
There must be a way in the future that the car won't start the engine if it detected the phone is still active

If they were...
By masamasa on 9/24/2010 1:36:17 PM , Rating: 3
If they were 16,000 drivers who ended up killing themselves that's 16,000 less idiots on the road. Unfortunately, too many die at the hands of those idiots.

To address your question...
By The Raven on 9/24/2010 11:20:05 AM , Rating: 2
How many people are killed driving while stupid? I'd like to see that study.

Unfortuantely they weren't driving while conducting this study.

Perfect solution fail
By ipay on 9/24/2010 12:51:49 PM , Rating: 2
Wilson told Reuters, "I guess a perfect solution would be installing cell phone jammers in every car but that is not going to happen.

I guess the shotgun would have to climb to the car's roof to make a call.
Although, with the right safety equipment, this could be entertaining...

Subject line
By Siki on 9/24/2010 3:32:35 PM , Rating: 2
They didn't ban cellphone use to reduce accidents, they did it to make the police department money... and that's working out just fine.

This just in
By IvanAndreevich on 9/24/2010 3:50:36 PM , Rating: 2
Cell phones, cars, and idiots are far more dangerous then terrorists

Yet more nonsense
By GatoRat on 9/25/2010 1:01:48 PM , Rating: 2
This wasn't a scientific study; it was a statistical study. The very fact that they claim a specific number of deaths proves that they are just making things up.

In reality, the actual data shows a steady decline in fatalities over the last ten years even as there has been a logarithmic increase in cell phone usage.

This isn't about safety, it's about power and the government wants more. It will use whatever excuse it can find, even if means making up science, to get it.

Just Stop Texting and Driving
By zephyrwind69 on 9/26/2010 2:10:06 PM , Rating: 2
I don't believe that the semantics of the study are too far off. The solution is to just stop texting and driving. If you don't have the personal will power, or are responsible for a teenage driver, the solution of adding some anti-texting software to a smart phone is a simple solution. I google'd the following result to stop texting and driving.

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