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Drive Alive co-founder
Cell phones are as
drunk, study says
Does your novice teen driver really need anything to focus on besides
traffic and the road conditions? Of course not.
Drive Alive research shows that a vast majority of Allen County
teen drivers surveyed regularly talk on a cell phone while driving. That
should put a scare into all of us. The risk of having a traffic accident
while using a cell phone is the same as that while driving drunk, according
to a study in The New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers found that
cell phone users are four times more likely to get into traffic accidents
than those who do not use them.
Nationally, the number of teens and young adults talking on a cell phone
while driving went up again last year, according to government research
released in March 2005. The research identified the percentage of teen
drivers AT ANY GIVEN MOMENT that were driving while talking on a cell phone.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) survey found that
hand-held cell phone use among drivers between the ages of 16 and 24
increased to 8 percent in 2004 from 5 percent in 2002. The rate stood at 3
percent in 2000. The rate of cell phone use for drivers of all ages was the
same 8 percent in 2004. That means that at any given moment in the United States
last year, an estimated 8 percent of all motorists, or about 1.2 million
drivers, were talking on cell phones while behind the wheel, the survey
found. That compared to 6 percent in 2002 and 4 percent in 2000.
Frankly, it's dangerous for drivers of any age to drive while talking on a
phone. And studies have shown that hands-free phones are no safer - the
danger is the fact that the driver's mind is elsewhere. But what's bad for
adults is horrible for novice, inexperienced teenage drivers.
The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended
that novice drivers be prohibited from using cell phones
while behind the wheel. Good idea.
Remind your young driver of Indiana's law prohibiting use of
cell phones No use of the cell phone unless the car is
parked safely in a parking lot. Is that too much to ask of your teen if it
can help keep him or her alive? You decide.