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Cellphones attributable to 3,092 car accident deaths in 2010

A car accident is one of the most common events on Montana roads but a wreck is always unexpected for the drivers involved. There are many causes of car accidents but the vast majority of serious car wrecks are attributable to bad driving behavior such as impaired driving or distracted driving.

The proliferation of mobile phones in our lives has created an unexpected hazard for local drivers. Increasing numbers of car accidents are attributable to distracted drivers who are more interested in their phones than driving in a safe manner. In fact, new data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicate that over 3,000 people lost their lives in 2010 due to cellphone related crashes.

A cellphone is dangerous because it diverts a driver's attention from the important task of driving. Drivers who are texting or surfing the web on their phones can travel significant distances while essentially blind. This creates a hazard both to the driver and all those near the road.

The NHTSA data also includes people using hands-free cellphones in cars. Unfortunately, a survey from the NHTSA indicates that that most drivers are still willing to answer the phone on most trips despite knowledge that cellphone use can lead to a serious wreck. Even a hands-free phone can be distracting in ways that a conversation with a passenger cannot. A passenger in a car is usually also paying attention to the road and can opt not to talk when road or traffic situations demand the driver's absolute attention.

Source: USA Today, "Feds: Phoning, texting killed 3,092 in car crashes last year," James R. Healey, Dec. 8, 2011

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