It has been widely acknowledged that driving while using a cell phone is risky behavior that significantly increases the chances of an auto accident. However, while the use of a cell phone creates a major distraction, the phone itself may not be the only explanation for more accidents occurring.
A 2012 study of 108 Boston area drivers conducted by MIT researchers revealed some important information about drivers who tend to talk on their phones as they drive. Our Boston, MA accident lawyers understand drivers who use cell phones were also more likely to engage in other unsafe driving behavior.
Drivers Who use Cell Phones More Likely to be Dangerous Drivers
According to Boston.com, an MIT study of more than 108 drivers in Boston and surrounding areas revealed that approximately half of the drivers admitted to frequently using their phones when they were driving. The rest of the drivers in the study said that they rarely used their phones at all when operating a vehicle.
The MIT researchers studied the driving behavior of each of the 108 drivers participating in the survey. None of the drivers used their phones at the time when the test was going on. Yet, it turned out that many of those who reported frequently using their phones were doing some other dangerous things. For example, those who frequently used their phones also:
- Drove faster than the other drivers who rarely used their phones
- Drove in the far left lane for longer periods of time than the other drivers
- Changed lanes more frequently
- Accelerated rapidly more often than the other drivers
- Were more apt to slam on the brakes than the other drivers
In other words, those who were more likely to talk on their cell phones were also much more likely to engage in aggressive and dangerous driving behaviors.
Based on the results of the study, the associate director of MIT's New England University Transportation Center indicated that drivers who used their cell phones more often were also drivers who tended to be higher-risk in general, independent of the issue of distracted driving.
These study results could indicate that it is the driver's personality that plays the biggest role in whether or not an accident will occur. A driver who is more likely to engage in risky behavior will also be more likely to engage in the dangerous practice of using his phone.
Unfortunately, these results show that a widespread ban on the use of cell phones may not reduce the risk of auto accidents as much as legislatures and experts have hoped. While such a ban can be an important step in the right direction of making roads safer, other measures also need to be taken including providing driver training to warn about other bad driving behaviors.
The president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also indicated that cell phone restrictions had provided few of the expected benefits and that there had been no notable increase in crashes as cell phones became more popular. This data, too, suggests that the most important thing is helping every single driver to recognize and avoid unnecessary driving risk.
If you've been injured, call 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 for a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone.