Car Accident Accident Injury Lawyers Examine How Cell Phones Linked To Car Crashes – Why To Get A Hands-Free Phone | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

Recently, the state of California banned cell phone use while driving. Now, drivers in that state may only drive using a hands-free headset. But how dangerous is driving while talking on your cell phone?

According to a number of researchers, the answer is a resounding YES.

In Pennsylvania, the Department of Transportation reported that from 2002 to 2006, handheld cell phones were responsible for over 5,000 car crashes. Even more interesting, over 300 more accidents during the same period took place involving the use of hands-free headsets. The problem, PennDOT found, is also getting worse as cell phones and texting are becoming increasingly popular: from 2003 to 2005, incidents have increased by 36 percent.

In a California study conducted by Jed Kolko and funded by Public Policy Institute of California, it was reported that over 300 people would be saved each year by a handheld cell phone ban in California, and that several thousand people would be saved across the country if Bluetooth technology were required. Kolko and his team also found that cell phone use was most dangerous when driving in less than ideal conditions.

Finally, a Harvard University study found that a staggering 570,000 injuries as well as 1.5 million in damaged property could be prevented if talking on your cell phone while driving were made illegal.

Where does this leave you and your cell phone use while driving? Each and every study points to fewer car crashes when drivers are alert and paying attention to the road instead of chatting on the phone. However, it is important to note that although talking on handheld devices while driving in adverse conditions (rain, snow, traffic) increased car accidents, chatting on the open roads in ideal conditions did not increase the chance of a collision.

It is also important to note that even though holding a cell phone can be distracting to drivers, so can talking to someone on a headset while driving. Researchers have yet to uncover whether it is more distracting and dangerous to hold the phone to your ear or to talk to someone who is not in the car with their eyes fixed on the road next to you.