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Not Only Mobile Phones, Even Passengers can Increase the Risk of Road Accidents

A new study has found that apart from using mobile phones while driving, even carrying more number of passengers in a vehicle could increase the risk of a crash.

The study, by The George Institute for International Health, was intended to determine the danger of a crash related with passenger carriage compared with that of using a mobile phone while driving.

And the researchers found that passengers also contribute to road accidents, though not to the same extent as mobile phone use.

"Carrying passengers in the car has a number of potentially distracting effects that also occur with mobile phone use while driving. Moreover, carrying passengers may have additional effects on the driver, including peer influence, study's lead investigator, Dr Suzanne McEvoy, says.

"Drivers with passengers were almost 60% more likely to have a motor vehicle crash resulting in hospital attendance, irrespective of their age group. The likelihood of a crash was more than doubled in the presence of two or more passengers," notes Dr McEvoy.

The study did find, however, that the danger of a crash is significantly lower in passenger-related factor, as compared to the mobile phone factor while driving.

"In contrast to mobile phone use, passengers, with some exceptions, are generally aware of the road conditions and can moderate their conversation as needed. However, although the risk associated with carrying passengers is lower than that associated with mobile phone use, it is likely to have a higher contribution to accidents because of the higher incidence of drivers taking passengers as opposed to using a mobile phone when driving," The George Institute's Professor Mark Stevenson, who also contributed to the study, said.

While the body of confirmation is growing in relation to the road safety risks connected with mobile phone use and passenger carriage, questions remain about how these factors
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