MAYFIELD VILLAGE, Ohio – Much research has been done on the association between cellular telephone use and motor vehicle collisions.
According to a study published in the “New England Journal of Medicine,” using cellular phones while driving quadruples the risk of a vehicle collision.
It’s no wonder. According to a new survey by Progressive Insurance, 46 percent of respondents report having swerved into another lane and 41 percent say they sped up while driving alone and talking on their cell phone.
And, 11 percent of those who use a cell phone while driving alone report knowing someone who was involved in an accident that resulted from talking on a cellular phone.
Personal phone calls.
Progressive set out to define the typical cell phone user. A survey found that more than 90 percent of survey respondents use the cell phone while driving alone in their vehicles. Fifty percent of them are driving to and from work and 78 percent are talking with friends or families, not coworkers.
In fact, 31 percent of people who use their cell phone while driving alone haven’t used their cell phone for a work-related call in the past six months.
Forty percent work outside the home between 41-50 hours a week and report that they wouldn’t use a cell phone while driving alone if they had more time to take care of personal business (hence the calls to friends and family).
Look who’s talking.
The survey reveals the typical cell phone user drives alone and:
* More than half (61 percent) are men.
* Seventy-one percent are between 18 and 34.
* They most often drive mid-size cars, followed by compact cars and SUVs.
Some other interesting facts from the study include:
Twenty-three percent of people who were talking on a cell phone while driving alone report having tailgated another vehicle; 21 percent have cut someone off and 18 percent nearly hit another vehicle.
Sixty percent of those people surveyed said that they have not used their cell phones while driving alone for an emergency in the last six months; 35 percent of people who have made over 30 personal calls in the last six months to friends and family while driving alone.
To legalize or not.
Despite the number of people who use a cell phone while driving alone, 26 percent of respondents said that cell phone use while driving should be made illegal and 23 percent of respondents said that law enforcement should be able to pull people over solely for using their cell phone while driving.
* * *
Beware of your neighbors.
Women were three times more likely to use their cell phone while driving alone through a neighborhood/residential area than high traffic downtown areas.
Men were almost two times more likely than women to report running a red light while driving alone and talking on their cell phone.
Forty-one percent said that they would refrain from using their cell phone while driving alone if they were not stuck in traffic so often.
Twenty-six percent of people with incomes between $50,000 and $75,000 use their cell phones most often while driving alone, more than any other income bracket.
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