Last month, an article from the American Journal of Public Health was released, and it showed a staggering increase in the amount of car accidents caused by distracted drivers. The study used data from the National Center For Statistics and Analysis which made the claim that distracted driving accidents have risen almost 30 percent in the last three years. In 2005, about 4,500 people were killed in accidents caused by text messaging or talking on a cell phone while driving. That number jumped up to 5,870 by 2008. Between 2001 and 2007, an estimate 16,000 people have been in fatal car accidents caused by distracted driving.
According to this article, the Fatality Analysis Reporting System records the data from all fatal car accidents and they used “multivariate regression analysis to estimate the relation between state-level distracted driving fatalities and texting volumes.” One doctor, Dr. Amy Ship of Beth Israel, believes that physicians should pass along the message of the dangers of distracted driving to their patients. She reminds us that the effects of distracted driving are just as bad, if not worse, than drunk driving because it effectively takes your eyes off the road.
As a personal injury lawyer in Seattle, I’ve heard many reports that wireless headsets are just as distracting as using a hand held cell phone. In addition, many people believe that cell phone bans in states haven’t done much to discourage people from distracted driving.