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

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."


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!


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