New Study Looks At Effects Of Digital Distractions While Driving

Most of us will agree that it's important to keep our eyes on the road while driving. Even so, the majority of people will admit to doing other things while driving including texting, eating, talking on the phone, or punching directions into a GPS.

A new study from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) calls attention to some of the effects of driving while distracted by the various gadgets in our lives. Some of the highlights from the 50-page report include:

  • NHTSA estimates that 16% of fatal crashes and 20% of injury crashes in 2009 involved at least one distracted driver (NHTSA, 2010a).
  • Texting probably increases crash risk more than cell phone use because texting requires both visual and manual distraction for a longer period of time than dialing a cell phone.
  • Cell phone use increases crash risk to some extent but there is no consensus on the size of the increase.
  • There is no conclusive evidence on whether hands-free cell phone use is less risky than hand-held use.
  • Laws banning hand-held cell phone use reduced use by about half when they were first implemented. Hand-held cell phone use increased subsequently but the laws appear to have had some long term effect.

Interestingly enough, the study also says that there is no evidence that cell phone or texting bans have reduced crashes. All in all, the results are mixed. Click on the Via link below to read more from the report.