Many studies over the years have pointed to the potential dangers of using cell phones while driving. Now, a recent study confirms that texting, dialing, or reaching for a cell phone while driving significantly increases the likelihood of an accident.
Researchers installed video cameras, GPS devices, lane trackers, and tools to measure speed and acceleration, among other sensors, in vehicles and studied newly licensed drivers as well as those with twenty years of driving experience.
The study showed that among young drivers, the risk of crash or near-miss was 7x greater if drivers were dialing or reaching for a cell phone, and 4x greater if they were sending or receiving a text message.
However, young drivers need not bear all the blame for distracted driving. A recent AAA report has found that significant numbers of drivers across all age groups reported using cell phones, including texting, while behind the wheel. Even worse offenders than teens, were the adults aged 25-39.
The AAA study revealed that 82 percent of drivers aged 25-39 use their cell phone on some level while driving, and 43 percent confessed to doing so on a fairly regular basis. Seventy-two percent of people aged 19-24 admitted to using a cell phone while driving, and 27 percent of those said they do so regularly. Significantly fewer drivers, only 58 percent of people aged 16-18 said they use their cell phone while driving, and only 20 percent on a regular basis.
Adults aged 25-39 were also the worst about texting and emailing while driving. Forty-five percent of drivers in this age group confessed that they had done so recently, 10 percent of them on a regular basis. Only 42 percent of drivers aged 19-24, 11 percent regularly, admitted to texting while driving. Even fewer drivers aged 16-18 said they did- 31 percent recently and 7 percent commonly.
Because the survey relied on self-reporting, the numbers may be higher across all age groups. However, the study did make one point clear, drivers in all age groups are aware of the risks, and most believe distracted driving is a bigger problem now than it was three years ago.
Regardless of the drivers’ age, texting while driving is extremely dangerous, and according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,000 fatal car crashes are caused every year by distracted driving.