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Wayne State study shows early research on cellphone conversations likely overestimated crash risk
Date:12/14/2011

hat control period," Young said. "It makes it appear that there is less cellphone conversation in control periods than in the time just before a crash, making the relative risk estimate appear greater than it really is."

Young found that when the cellphone conversation time in the control window was adjusted for the amount of driving, the amount of cellphone usage in the control window was about the same as in the minutes before a crash. He concluded that the crash risk for cellphone conversation while driving is one-fourth of what was claimed in previous studies, or near that of normal baseline driving.

Young added that many well-controlled studies with real driving show that the primary increase in crash risk from portable electronic devices comes from tasks that require drivers to look at the device or operate it with their hands, such as texting while driving. Five other recent real-world studies concur with his conclusion that the crash risk from cellular conversations is not greater than that of driving with no conversation.

"Tasks that take a driver's eyes off the road or hands off the steering wheel are what increase crash risk," said Young. "Texting, emailing, manual dialing and so forth not conversation are what increase the risk of crashes while driving."

The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended that all 50 states and the District of Columbia ban the non-emergency use of portable electronic devices for all drivers. Young said this recommendation goes beyond the data from newer studies, including his, because it would ban cellphone conversations while driving.

"Recent real-world studies show that cellphone conversations do not increase crash risk beyond that of normal driving it is the visual-manual tasks that take the eyes off the road and the hands off the wheel that are the real risk," said Young.


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Contact: Julie O'Connor
julie.oconnor@wayne.edu
734-748-4207
Wayne State University - Office of the Vice President for Research
Source:Eurekalert

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