A new report published by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) has concluded that distracted driving is associated with 15 to 25 percent of all crashes in the US. The GHSA made this claim after reviewing the results from more than 350 scientific papers published between 2000 and 2011. The report also included recommendations calling for banning texting for all drivers, and banning cellphone use by new drivers.
In addition to quantifying the relationship between driver distraction and accidents, the report, titled "Distracted Driving: What Research Shows and What States Can Do," also concluded distractions affect driving performance, drivers frequently are distracted as much as half the time while they are driving, drivers do pay more attention to driving and reduce their distracting activities in more risky driving situations, cell phone usage increases crash risk, and texting likely increases crash risk more than cellphone use.
The study suggests that the ban on cellphone usage by novice drivers should be for both handheld and hands-free use, since both are easily distracting for those not yet comfortable on the road.
The report was careful to add that more research was needed. "Despite all that has been written about driver distraction, there is still a lot that we do not know," GHSA Executive Director Barbara Harsha said. "Much of the research is incomplete or contradictory. Clearly, more studies need to be done addressing both the scope of the problem and how to effectively address it."