Want to Improve Road Safety? Don't Touch That Phone

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine examines which types of distractions lead to the most collisions. Researchers found that dialing while driving is the biggest safety hazard.
January 5, 2014, 7am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"The next time you’re tempted to make a phone call while you’re behind the wheel, remember this: Dialing while driving increases the risk of a crash or near-crash more than any other sort of distraction," writes Karen Kaplan. That's one of the key findings made by researchers who used a variety of technologies to study the behavior of drivers young and old.

"Compared to periods when they weren’t distracted, the odds of of a novice driver getting into a crash or near-crash were 8.32 higher when they were dialing a cellphone; 8 times higher when reaching for something besides their cellphone; 7.05 times higher when trying to grab the phone; 3.9 times higher when looking at something on the side of the road (including cars involved in other crashes); and 2.99 times higher when eating," notes Kaplan. 

"For the experienced drivers, the only activity that increased the risk of a crash or near-crash risk was dialing a cellphone. That made drivers 2.49 times more likely to get into trouble behind the wheel, according to the study results."

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Published on Wednesday, January 1, 2014 in Los Angeles Times
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