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NHTSA study shows 3,000 dead in cellphone-related car crashes

Distracted driving is one of the many causes of New Jersey car accidents. New statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicate that 3,092 drivers died in “distraction-affected” traffic accidents last year. The term “distraction-affected” is a new measurement that encompasses car accidents that are the result of mobile phones through the use of phoning, answering a call, or texting. Drivers who are preoccupied with their phones are more likely to be involved in a car accident because a phone necessarily takes one’s mind and usually one’s eyes off the road.

Distraction related to cellphones also includes hands-free phones. Unlike a conversation with a passenger, the second participant in hands-free phone conversation cannot pause a conversation to allow a passenger to concentrate on a particularly complicated traffic pattern. Also the person on the other end of a hands-free phone conversation will not be able to point out lights or other traffic signals that a driver may miss.

The majority of drivers say that they will continue to answer phone calls while driving despite the findings that cellphone use can cause a deadly accident. Many drivers also say that they do not consider the traffic situation before answering a call.

The NHTSA study’s use of a the distraction-affected measurement is different than the “distraction-related” measurement used to analyze 2009 car accident fatal rates. That year 5,474 people died in distraction-related crashes. The NHTSA study was conducted by phone and many people were surveyed via cellphone. Hopefully these individuals did not answer in the car.

Source: USA Today, “Feds: Phoning, texting killed 3,092 in car crashes last year,” James R. Healey, Dec. 8, 2011

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