Drowsy And Distracted Drivers Cause 80% Of Crashes

A new government study sheds light on the cause of most crashes -- and the results are startling. Prior analysis of crashes showed "driver inattention" to be responsible for only 1 out of 4 crashes.
April 25, 2006, 6am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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"Distracted drivers were involved in nearly eight out of 10 collisions or near-crashes, says a study released Thursday by the government.

A driver's reaching for a moving object increased the risk of a crash or potential collision by nine times, according to researchers at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.

They found that the risk of a crash increases almost threefold when a driver is dialing a cell phone.

"All of these activities are much more dangerous than we thought before," said Dr. Charlie Klauer, a senior research associate at the institute. Data from police reports had estimated that driver inattention was a factor in about 25 percent of crashes."

"For more than a year, researchers studied the behavior of the drivers of 100 vehicles in metropolitan Washington, D.C. They tracked 241 drivers, who were involved in 82 crashes of various degrees of seriousness -- 15 were reported to police -- and 761 near-crashes. The air bag deployed in three instances."

Thanks to John Holtzclaw

Full Story:
Published on Friday, April 21, 2006 in Associated Press via San Francisco Chronicle
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