If you are using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle, are you also prone to engage in other risky behaviors? Think about it– would someone who is taking one risk be more likely to take others?
According to a new study by researchers at MIT, the answer is yes. Drivers who use cell phones are far more likely to display other risky behaviors while on the road.
The study was conducted by researchers at MIT who studies the behavior of 108 drivers in greater Boston. Half of them admitted to using their cell phones frequently while driving, while others said they ‘rarely’ were on the phone behind the wheel. Researchers found that the drivers who did engage in more frequent cell phone use were higher-risk drivers… even when not on the phone.
This new study is raising the question of whether driving while on a cell phone is a safety risk or even worse, the symptom of a larger problem. That problem would be an aggressive driver that has dangerous driving habits. The same people that used their cell phone frequently also changed lanes more often and spent more time in the fast lane (the one all the way on the left). Not only that, they were more likely to slam on the brakes and accelerate rapidly. In short, they practiced unsafe driving habits on a regular basis.
This data supports the data from the NSC, which estimates one out of five car accidents involve drivers on the phone. Although the amount of cell phones has increased nationally, the amount of car accidents has not. This invites the potential conclusion that drivers that talk are also engaging in other risky behavior. 39 states have banned texting while driving, and 10 more have banned talking on cell phones unless using a hands-free. Massachusetts is even considering a full cell phone ban to decrease car crashes.
Is the answer is new laws? Many states are considering training programs that discourage cell phone use and warning about bad habits. There is also a new focus on the importance of sensors or collision warning systems on cars that can tell when cars go across lanes or may collide with another car.
In conclusion, the cell phone is not so much the risky aspect of distracted driving– it’s the driver themselves. If you’ve recently been in an auto accident due to distracted drivers, contact an experienced car accident lawyer today at The Law Firm of Payas, Payas, and Payas.