A study from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute indicates that it is far riskier to make a call or reach for a cellphone while driving than simply carrying on a conversation with a passenger or while already on the phone. There are a variety of recent studies that show that people are more likely to end up in car accidents if they use their cellphones while behind the wheel, but this study indicates that the most dangerous actions involve taking their eyes off the road.
Researchers installed a variety of devices in the vehicles of drivers who had just received their licenses and people who had been driving for years. These devices included lane trackers, GPS, cameras and systems that measured speed and acceleration. Newer drivers were at far greater risk of being involved in accidents than more experienced drivers when making a call; they were up to seven times as likely to be involved a crash or near miss.
Drivers who had the most experience behind the wheel were only at greater risk of a crash if they were making calls, but there was no danger noted if they were merely talking on their cellphones. The study was started before texting became common for older drivers, so the risk associated with texting for them was not examined.
Distracted driving has become an increasingly noticed issue in the last few years, especially since cellphone use has become commonplace, and greater numbers of car accidents are caused by individuals who are not paying attention to the road. If someone has been in a collision caused by a distracted driver, he or she may be able to pursue compensation from the individual responsible. An attorney could help victims understand their legal options and aid them in recovering sums for medical bills and vehicle repairs.
Source: CBS News, “Distracted driving study: Cell phone dialing, texting dangerous. Talking? Less so.“, January 02, 2014