By Colin Bird on July 12, 2011
Texting, talking on a cellphone and other distractions caused by electronic gadgets cause up to 25% of car crashes, according to a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, a nonprofit group working to improve traffic safety.
Drivers are distracted about half the time they're driving, according to the GHSA report. It also found that cellphone use and texting increase the risk of an accident. Like other recent reports, it says texting increases the risks more than simply talking on a cellphone.
The report also questions the effectiveness of handheld cellphone and texting bans. It found there’s no conclusive evidence that talking via a Bluetooth headset or other hands-free method is any safer or less distracting than talking with a phone in your hand. The report also says that texting bans are proving to be difficult to enforce.
In this latest study, GHSA recommends states pass a complete ban on cellphone usage for novice drivers and a texting ban for all drivers. An earlier study by GHSA said it did not support a total ban of in-car phone usage and that texting bans may increase the amount of auto collisions.
Currently, 30 states and the District of Columbia ban cellphone use for novice drivers. Thirty-four states and the District ban texting for all drivers.
Gadgets tied to 25 percent of car crashes: report (Reuters, via MSNBC)