In 2003 cell phone distraction resulted in 2,600 deaths and 330,000 injuries
Ninety percent of cell phone owners report that they use the phone while driving, according to a report published in 1999. Another report from 2003 indicates that cell phone distraction results in 2,600 deaths, 330,000 injuries, and 1.5 million instances of property damage in the United States each year. Can hands-free devices reduce accidents, fatalities, or damage? No, say human factors researchers published in a special driver distraction section in Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.
In fact, if a hands-free device is not easy to use, a driver who uses it could be even more distracted than by simply holding the phone. Things could get worse: The next generation of communication technology -- such as wireless Internet, speech recognition systems, satelitte radio, and e-mail -- could be far more distracting for drivers, creating even greater risk on the road.
Overall, these results show that hands-free devices are not the solution to the problem of driver distraction. The papers also indicate new directions for enhancing driving safety.
Lois Smith | EurekAlert!
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