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How do cell phones contribute to car accidents?

Cell phones have a huge appeal to Americans, particularly Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, residents. Due to the fact that cell phones enable a person to stay connected with family, friends, and anyone who has an Internet connection, cell phones seem to dominate their lives. Teenagers and young adults are not the only ones who are fascinated by their mobile devices, adults are no different. According to a study conducted by Pew Internet & American Life Project, 82 percent of adults own cell phones. Of those, 58 percent receive and send text messages.

Unfortunately, people seem to leverage the technology by using their mobile phones for different types of tasks, including while they are walking and driving. Cell phone use becomes a distraction to drivers on many occasions. Based on the study, nearly 47 percent of adults who text have read or sent a text message while driving. Three of four cell phone owners have used their phones to make a call while driving. That means that 61 percent of the American population has used their cell phones while operating a vehicle. Forty-nine percent of adult passengers who participated in the study stated that they have been in a vehicle when the driver was using a cell phone.

Cell phones are one of the common distractions that can cause deadly car crashes throughout the U.S., including in Pennsylvania. Distracted driving is a dangerous epidemic on the road. Approximately 421,000 people sustained injuries in a car accident caused by distracted drivers in 2011. This puts many people at risk while they are on the road.

When it comes to fatality rates, 3,328 died in 2012 due to accidents caused by distracted driving. Although that number is lower than the 3,360 fatalities in 2011, distracted driving has to stop in order to save more people from injuries and fatalities caused by distracted driving.

Source: Pew Research Center, "Adults and Cell Phone Distractions," Accessed Sept. 24, 2014

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