Risky Business

Dozens of peer-reviewed scientific studies have demonstrated the risks associated with using a cell phone while driving, including a significantly increased crash risk. Drivers who use a cell phone – either handheld or hands-free – are four times more likely to be involved in a crash, according to a 1997 New England Journal of Medicine examination of hospital records, and a 2005 study funded by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety linking injury crashes to cell phone records.

• Did you know that about 30 research studies conclude that there is an increased crash risk when using a cell phone while driving. Many of these studies further conclude that using a hands-free phone while driving is just as risky as talking on a handheld phone.

• Many businesses and organizations understand the risk and are taking action. In a 2009 survey, 58 percent (1,163 out of 2,004 respondents) said their organization had some type of a cell phone policy, and the majority of them reported that the policy had a positive impact. Over 70 percent of companies that prohibit the use of all wireless communication devices while driving, including hands-free phones, did not see a decrease in productivity; over 20 percent saw decreases in employee crash rates and property damage.

• Studies show that cell phone use contributes to an estimated 25 percent of injury and crashes resulting in property damage.

• Thousands of deaths each year are due to cell phone-related crashes, according to the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis.

• Hundreds of millions of people use cell phones while driving. According to CTIA, The Wireless Association, there are more than 275 million cell phone subscribers. A 2008 Nationwide Insurance public opinion poll showed 81 percent of cell phone owners admitted to talking on a cell phone while driving. Talking to a passenger while driving is significantly safer than talking on a cell phone for adult drivers, according to a University of Utah study. Passengers, unlike cell phone conversations, can make the driver aware of changing road conditions they might not see and can stop the conversation if traffic conditions warrant.

At the Carse Law Firm, we focus our efforts on the “how’s and why’s” of our clients’ motor vehicle accidents by looking at the negligent driver’s cell phone bill for the date and time of the accident. Were they on the job while on the telephone in violation of their employer’s cell phone policy or mindlessly chatting and neglecting their driving? These are questions we pursue to get to the root cause of an accident and make a determination as to whether or not the accident involved distracted driving. If you or a family member have been the victim of a distracted driver who was either texting or talking on a cell phone, call or email us for a free, no obligation evaluation of your specific case.