The New York Times is reporting that two consumer advocacy groups have obtained information regarding the dangers of cell phone use while driving from statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Apparently, these studies were not made public in part over concerns of angering Congress. I frankly do not understand why angering Congress would be a concern in reporting the dangers of cell phone use while driving. Nonetheless, theinformation obtained by Public Citizen and The Center for Auto Safety show alarming evidence about the dangers of cell phone use while driving.
According to the article
The highway safety researchers estimated that cellphone use by drivers caused around 955 fatalities and 240,000 accidents over all in 2002.
The full body of information is suppose to be available tomorrow and we look forward to a closer look at the full body of research. However, will we really be surprised at the data? I have practiced for several years actively litigating car accidents that have caused serious and often deadly injuries. Years ago I lost track of the amount of clients who were harmed as a result of a negligent driver talking on his or her cellphone.
One note is that I would expect this data to be behind the curve. We have all seen the explosion of texting over the previous few years. I fully expect that the problem with cell phone use while driving is worsening.