A recently published study confirms what many already suspected—dialing, texting, or reaching for a cell phone while driving increases the risk of a car accident. However, the study also surprisingly concluded that talking on the phone while driving proves less dangerous than previous studies have claimed.
While earlier research of this nature involved driving simulators, this high-tech study was performed on real-world drivers. Researchers installed global positioning systems, lane trackers, and other sensors in the cars of newly licensed drivers and adults.
The study found that the risk of a crash among young drivers increases substantially if they dial or reach for a cell phone, or send or receive a text message. The risk also increases if young drivers reach for something other than a phone, look at a roadside object, or eat. Among older drivers, only dialing a cell phone increased the chances of a crash.
For both young and old motorists, the study claims that having a phone conversation while driving does not increase the risk of a crash because talking does not require drivers to take their eyes off the road. However, researchers note that one must typically first dial a number to begin a phone conversation, which does raise the risk of a crash, so drivers should still be wary of their phone usage while behind the wheel.