This study analyzes the impact that a driver’s cell-phone usage has on automobile crashes in Louisiana; more specifically the impact that hand-held versus hands-free cell phone usage has on crashes. Research shows that using a cell phone is a distraction that can lead to an increased risk of being in an automobile crash; this increased risk is associated with the act of dialing the number. Therefore, hands-free cell phones that do not require the same tasks for dialing as hand-held cell phones are less risky.
Currently, there is
discussion nationwide
among safety
professionals questioning
whether cell phone use
while driving should be banned. Six states plus Washington D.C. and the Virgin Islands have passed laws to ban hand-held cell phones while driving. No state so far has banned hands-free cell phones while driving. This study analyzes the Louisiana crash data set
and surveys that were conducted by the Applied Technology Research Corporation. The attitudinal survey conducted shows that large percentages (57.1%) of respondents consider hands-free cell phones safer than hand-held cell phones. Although the Louisiana crash report does not collect information about hands-free versus hand-held cell phone usage, the crash data does illustrate that cell phone distractions are only one of many distractions that may occur in a motor vehicle.
Distraction Events Cell Phone Other Electronic Devices (Pager, Palm Pilot, Navigation Device, Etc) Other Inside the Vehicle
2009 16 735 1510 2253 1 187 293 481 14 2259 4208 6483
2008 10 818 1456 2284 2 146 281 429 25 2414 4270 6709
2007 10 810 1575 2395 1 179 269 449 24 2513 4400 6937
2006 10 787 1500 2297 2 140 258 400 18 2612 4636 7266
2005 6 792 1335 2133 0 180 255 435 25 2807 4751 7583
The study concludes that cell phone use is only part of the overall distraction within a car and the data does not indicate that cell phone usage alone has considerably increased the number of crashes on Louisiana over the past decade. To read the full report click here.