According to a study released on January 12 by the National Safety Council, 28 percent of traffic accidents, which create a possibility of personal injury, are caused by people talking on cell phones or sending text messages while driving.
The vast majority of said crashes, 1.4 million each year, are due to cell phone conversations, and 200,000 are blamed on text messaging, according to the council’s report.
The National Safety Council is a nonprofit group recognized by congressional charter as a leader on safety.
Due to the extent of the problem, on January 12, federal transportation officials unveiled an organization patterned after Mothers Against Drunk Drivers for the purpose of combating driver cell phone use. The group, which is called FocusDriven, originated at a meeting on distracted driving sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation last year.
The president of FocusDriven is Jennifer Smith, a Texas woman whose mother died in a crash caused by a man running a red light while talking on his cell phone.
Enforcement of a texting ban would require officers to observe an act that is typically conducted in a driver’s lap, and hands-free devices make talking on cell phones without being observed possible. More than 120 studies of cell phone usage have suggested that the use of hands-free devices does not eliminate the distraction caused by a phone conversation.