Cell phone use dramatically increases crash risk, new AAA study says | AspenTimes.com

Cell phone use dramatically increases crash risk, new AAA study says

“While driving, focus on just one task: Driving.” — AAA Colorado spokesman Skyler McKinley

Kieran Nicholson
The Denver Post

The Colorado State Patrol investigates a fatal one-car crash near Washington St. near 64th Ave. on Jan. 31, 2017, in Denver. One man was killed when the vehicle he was driving veered off Washington St. and slammed into a pole.

Drivers using cell phones to text and surf the Internet, among other uses, are two to eight times more likely to be involved in a crash than non-device-distracted drivers, according to a new American Automobile Association study.

Drivers talking on a cell phone behind the wheel are up to four times more likely to be involved in a crash – regardless of whether they're using a hands-free or handheld device, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study found.

AAA described its report as "the first epidemiological study published on this topic in more than 10 years."

"Deep down, I think everybody appreciates just how dangerous it can be to text and drive or talk and drive," said AAA Colorado spokesman Skyler McKinley in a news release. "That so many drivers regularly engage in these deadly behaviors is evidence of a 'It could never happen to me' mindset. Today's report should make one thing clear: Motorists are putting themselves, other road users, pedestrians, and property at significant risk every time they pick up the phone while driving."

Per preliminary data from the Colorado Department of Transportation, 620 people died on Colorado's roads in 2017 – surpassing 2016's record-breaking tally with the highest figure in more than a decade, the release said. And, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distraction was a factor about 10 percent of all fatal motor vehicle crashes and 18 percent of all crashes causing injury.

Read the full story from The Denver Post online at http://www.denverpost.com. 

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