More than a quarter of all car crashes in America are likely caused by cell phone use, a study by the Nation Safety Council has shown.
According to the NSC, the estimate for crashes caused by texting rose to at least 6% in 2013.
Additionally, 21% of crashes in 2013 were related to the use of handheld or hands-free phones.
The council estimates that talking on the phone led to 1.2 million wrecks in 2013 , while texting was involved in at least 341,000 more.
There were some 5.69 million auto crashes in the US in 2013, the NSC estimates based on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration figures.
The NSC found that 9% of drivers at any time during daylight hours were talking on cell phones, and that drivers talking on the phone while behind the wheel were four times as likely to crash as drivers who were not using their phones.
The number of drivers “manually manipulating” handheld devices, a catch-all term for using a phone with your hands to do things like text, was estimated to be 1.7% of all drivers at anytime during the day. Though studies into the subject have been limited, text messaging while driving is believed to increase the risk of crash eight to 23 times over driving while not texting.
The latest findings mark the third year in a row that phone-related crashes have increased in the US, Bob Brown of Network World writes.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, distracted driving was one of the America’s most pressing transportation challenges.
NTSB data also showed that in 2013, 32,719 people died on US roadways in 2013 — a decrease of about 1,000 from 2012, though roadway deaths made up almost 94% of all transportation deaths.
Of the roadway fatalities recorded in 2013, 11,977 occurred in passenger cars and 9,155 happened in light trucks and vans.
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