A new research study in the American Journal of Public Health suggested that more than 16,000 people died between 2001 and 2007 due to distracted driving involving the use of cell phones for voice or text communications.
“Our results suggested that recent and rapid increases in texting volumes have resulted in thousands of additional road fatalities in the United States,” Fernando Wilson and Jim Stimpson of the University of North Texas Health Science Center wrote in the Journal and added: “Distracted driving is a growing public safety hazard. Specifically, the dramatic rise in texting volume since 2005 appeared to be contributing to an alarming rise in distracted driving fatalities.”
Wilson and Stimpson also discovered a 19% rise in auto fatalities for every 1 million additional cellphone subscribers – a smaller, yet still significant, impact compared with texting.
“We basically concluded that cellphones are dangerous, there’s no question about that,” says Wilson. “But it’s really how people are using the cellphones.”
The issue about distracted driving has increased as quickly as the phenomenon itself. A recent Transportation Department report put “distracted driving” deaths at more than 5,000 last year.
Researchers concluded that distracted driving is a growing public safety hazard. Specifically, the significant increase in texting volume since 2005 appeared to be contributing to an alarming rise in distracted driving fatalities. Legislation enacting to bam texting while driving should be paired with effective enforcement to discourage drivers from using cell phones while driving.