Texting and calling while driving kills 16,000

Drivers distracted by talking or texting on mobile phones killed an estimated 16,000 people from 2001 to 2007, US researchers have reported.

The estimate, one of the first scientific attempts to quantify how many people have died in accidents caused specifically by mobile telephone distractions, also suggests a growing number of these drivers are under 30.



"Our results suggested that recent and rapid increases in texting volumes have resulted in thousands of additional road fatalities in the United States," Fernando Wilson and Jim Stimpson of the University of North Texas Health Science Center wrote in the American Journal of Public Health.



Wilson and Stimpson used details on road deaths from each state, on mobile phone ownership and data on text message volume from the Federal Communications Commission.



They got reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on deaths attributable to distracted driving.



"Since roughly 2001-2002, texting volumes have increased by several hundred per cent," Wilson said in a telephone interview. In 2002, 1 million texts were sent every month; this rose to 110 million in 2008.



"Since 2001 our model predicts that about 16,000 people have died since then that we attribute to the increase in texting volume in the United States."



Just talking on a mobile phone can distract a driver, and several studies have demonstrated that, even with a hands-free device. But Wilson said texting and using so-called smart phones that provide e-mail access and other distracting applications take the problem to a new level.



US traffic deaths are down -- in 2009 the Transportation Department said they hit their lowest level since the mid-1950s in 2009 at 33,963.



But for every 1 million new mobile phone subscribers, Wilson and Stimpson estimate a 19-per cent rise in deaths due to distracted driving.



"Distracted deaths as a share of all road fatalities increased from 10.9 per cent to 15.8 per cent from 1999 to 2008, and much of the increase occurred after 2005," they wrote.



"In 2008, approximately 1 in 6 fatal vehicle collisions resulted from a driver being distracted while driving," the report said. It found 5,870 people died in accidents attributed to distracted driving.



Mobile phone ownership and the number of text messages sent rose sharply over the same time, Wilson and Stimpson found.



Wilson said 30 states ban texting while driving, and some cities and states require hands-free devices for drivers using mobile telephones.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Guru Careers: Graduate Software Developer / Junior Developer

    £20 - 28k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Graduate Software Develop...

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Web Designer

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Web Designer is required to join a f...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Support Technician / Helpdesk - 2nd / 3rd Line

    £22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: IT Support Technician is requir...

    Day In a Page

    Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

    The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

    How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
    Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

    Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

    'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

    How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

    Art attack

    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
    Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

    Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

    Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
    Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

    'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

    Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
    10 best wedding gift ideas

    It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

    Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
    Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

    Paul Scholes column

    With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
    Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

    Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

    Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
    Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

    Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

    The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
    Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
    Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

    Fifa corruption arrests

    All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
    Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

    The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

    In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

    Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
    Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

    How Stephen Mangan got his range

    Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor