A $70 million study funded by the US Transportation Research Board and conducted by Virginia Tech Transportation Institute concludes that cell phone usage could be the single greatest cause of car accidents today. The study monitored over 3500 drivers in cars equipped with video cameras and other sensors and revealed drivers doing many things in addition to driving such as finding a suitable radio station, checking text messages and notifications, interacting with passengers and other things not related to driving. The study concluded that distracted driving doubled the risk of car crashes overall and distracted driving behaviors occurred approximately 50% of the time.
The study also gathered data on how frequently a particular behavior occurred and how frequently that behavior coincided with a car crash. Researchers found that the odds of having a car crash increased 3.6 fold when using a cell phone, and that people use their phone around 6.4 percent of the time. By contrast, drug and alcohol usage increases the odds of having a car crash 35-fold, but the behavior of driving under the influence occurred only .08 percent of the time.
While other incidences of distracted driving like alcohol usage, interacting with other passengers, and the driver’s mood are holding steady or decreasing, cell and smart phone usages are increasing exponentially. From the time of the 2013 study to the present time of the spring of 2016 smartphones have come onto the scene with additional features like surfing the internet, sending and receiving text messages and receiving notifications. Apple computer reported selling 75 million smartphones in the first quarter of 2015 alone. Techcrunch.com estimates that there could be as many as 1.1 billion smartphones in use by the year 2020 covering approximately 70 percent of the world’s population.
It does not require a scientific study to understand that smartphone usage distracts a driver from paying attention to the highway. Taking your eyes off the road for the time it takes to read one short sentence can reduce a driver’s reaction time by more than the length of a football field. This alone can cause collisions with stopped cars, or delay one’s reaction to an oncoming curve in the road.
Thanks to: Business Insider