Cell phone usage and car crashing

Many earlier studies has concluded that cell phones can produce as high as 400% increase in relative crash risk - comparable to that produced by illicit levels of alcohol. A 2003 Gallup Poll found that 70% of Americans said cell-phone drivers cause accidents.
However, two economics students of UC Berkeley recently found in research published last week that while Americans are clearly calling-while-driving more, they are not more accident prone.
The average amount of time a cell phone subscriber spends on calls rose from 140 minutes to 740 minutes per month since 1993. Now about 40% of Americans use their phones while driving. However, according to the researchers equiped with better data and statistical methods, the number of fatal accidents has fallen or stayed flat in all states from 1987 to 2005, and during that period, the number of non-fatal crashes in seven states was also steady or down.
The researchers wonder if the public at large might be taking care to compensate for their talking say, for instance, by moving into the slow lane. Or, they theorized, the phone calls might be keeping otherwise tired drivers alert and awake.

I banned myself use cell phone in the car, unless my family called first; but that is just me. Some people like it, few even put a Portable Rotary Phone ( it's a GSM cell phone built inside an old rotary phone) up. See the picture below.


John said...

Maybe we're just getting better at multi tasking.

Bilbo said...

I've often said that I think I'll die by being run over by a person who runs a red light while talking on a cell phone...I have a close call at least once a week at the intersection I have to cross on my way to the subway station as I go to and from work. Some people are just totally irresponsible...multi tasking is fine, but doesn't belong behind the wheel.

Mike said...

I know someone whose best friend walked in front of train while on a cell phone.