I came across this article on Cnet and decided to post it here, since we are unlikely to see it anywhere in the mainstream media.
January 29, 2010 4:19 PM PST
Study: Distractions, not phones, cause car crashes
A new study suggests that laws banning talking on or sending text messages with cell phones while driving may not significantly decrease the risk of traffic accidents. Instead, experts suggest dealing with the problem of distracted drivers in general.
The Highway Loss Data Institute, a nonprofit organization funded by the auto insurance industry, compared monthly collision claims in four states that have banned handheld cell phone use before and after the bans took effect.
Research for the study, published Friday, was collected in New York, Washington, D.C., Connecticut, and California. Data was also collected and evaluated from nearby states that do not have such bans, for the sake of comparison. The Highway Loss Data Institute’s research indicates that car collision rates didn’t change after bans went into effect–and they didn’t change for nearby states without such bans, either.
That said, the laws banning handheld phone usage have been effective in getting people to use hands-free devices for driving, the study suggests. But there is no indication that hands-free devices have reduced the number of car accidents that occur.