For the third consecutive year, the percentage of car crashes involving cell phones has increased from year to year, according to the National Safety Council.
The NSC says cell phone-related crashes accounted for 27% of all crashes in 2013 (the most recent year that statistics are available for) – that includes both talking and texting on the devices.
Texting-related crashes rose from 5% to 6%. Crashes involving talking on cell phones remained at 21%.
“We need better education, laws and enforcement to make our roads safer for everyone,” said NSC CEO Deborah Hersman.
Some states do have laws banning cell phone use while driving:
- 14 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving
- 38 states and D.C. ban all cell phone use by novice drivers
- 20 states and D.C. prohibit cell phone use by school bus drivers, and
- 46 states, D.C., and 3 U.S. territories ban texting while driving.
Of the four states that don’t ban all texting while driving, two prohibit it by novice drivers.
The NSC estimates texting increases a driver’s crash risk by at least eight times. Talking on handheld or hands-free phones increases the chance of a crash by four times.
Whether cell phones are a factor in crashes is probably under-reported, according to the NSC, because police must rely almost entirely on driver self-reports or eyewitness accounts.
Some other cell phone and driving stats from the NSC:
- Almost one in ten (9%) of drivers are talking on cell phones at any given daylight moment
- In 2013, 1.2 million crashes involved drivers talking on cell phones (this includes property-damage only, injury and fatality crashes)
- While there are no stats on the percentage of drivers texting while driving, 1.7% of drivers “manually manipulate” handheld devices at any given daylight moment
- At least 341,000 crashes were likely attributable to texting in 2013.
The NSC has called on employers to implement a total ban on employees’ cell phone use while they’re driving for work.
Does your company have such a ban? Let us know in the comments.