The National Safety Council has just cited a study published in the Journal of Safety Research that says drivers overestimate their skills and underestimate distractions caused by other activities while they drive. Particularly dangerous is the widespread use of cell phones.
In January the NSC urged a total ban on that activity, based on scientific estimates that cell phone use while driving contributes to 6% of crashes, or 636,000 wrecks, 330,000 injuries, 12,000 serious injuries, and 2,600 deaths each year. NSC estimates the annual financial toll of cell phone-related crashes at $43 billion.
“Our nation has reached a point where we estimate more than 100 million people are engaging in this dangerous behavior daily,” said Janet Froetscher, NSC president. Froetscher added that the issue is not the type of phone a driver uses, rather it is the distraction caused by the conversation.
“Hands-free devices do not make cell phones any safer. Several studies indicate that the principle risk is the cognitive distraction. Studies also show that driving while talking on a cell phone is extremely dangerous and puts drivers at a four-times greater crash risk,” she said. (more…)