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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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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:
http://www.iihs.org/research/hldi/composite_bw.asp...
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.


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