According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are 5.4 million non-fatal car crashes each year, and 80 fatal accidents each day. In 2013 alone, there were 35,244 fatal car crashes. In New York state specifically, there are about 1,464 motor vehicle-related deaths each year, and 15,435 hospitalizations due to motor vehicle traffic-related injuries, according to the New York State Department of Health.
And according to yet another new study, it’s probably because — you guessed it — cell phones are distracting drivers.
The National Safety Council estimates that 21% of all collisions, or 1.2 million in 2013, were attributed to cell phone use, with texting possibly accounting for another six to 16% of the total. Consequently, the actual percentage involving cell phones jumps to 37% at worst.
According to the report, talking on a cell phone while driving increases fourfold a driver’s risk of crashing. The variation in texting-related collisions comes from two different studies, which the report considered. One estimated texting while driving increases a driver’s risk of crashing eight times, the other by 23 times.
“The incredible connectivity enabled by technology has resulted in a very dangerous environment behind the wheel,” National Safety Council president and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman said. “While the public understands the risks associated with distracted driving, the data shows the behavior continues — we need better education, laws and enforcement to make our roads safer for everyone.”
The best, and only, way to prevent distracted driving is to not use a cell phone at all while driving, not even with a hands-free device. Drivers must simply turn it off, or put it away. According to the National Safety Council’s website, there is no safe way to use a cell phone while driving. Drivers might be able to look out their windshield fine, but they don’t see the changes in traffic patterns, resulting in accidents.
In other words, drivers need to put their cell phones away, or else risk their own and others’ safety.
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