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New study suggests talking on the phone while driving perhaps not as hazardous as once thought

Posted: , by Maxwell R.

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New study suggests talking on the phone while driving perhaps not as hazardous as once thought
We, along with most of the tech media (pretty much most media anywhere), have shared all sorts of news about studies reiterating what we already know, distracted driving (it does not really matter what is distracting you) is dangerous driving.

Of course, every point of view has a counter-point, and every study or legal review can also be turned on its head. Under the right circumstances, anything can become safer or more dangerous.

From folks at Carnegie Mellon University and the London School of Economics conducted an analysis of 8 million car crashes and fatalities on roadways in eight US states. The time period studied tracked activity between 2002 and 2005, before and after 9:00PM (local time) for each state. 9:00PM was chosen because at that time, many carriers offered free calls during the week.

Examining the call data and corresponding incidences of car crashes, Professor Saurabh Bhargava and Dr. Vikram Pathania saw no correlation between the increase in calling activity and the fact that there was no apparent increase in crashes.

"At first we thought the numbers were wrong. We went back and checked everything - but there was nothing going on at all. We just know that we saw a big jump in cellphone use and there was no impact on the crash rate." – Dr. Vikram Pathania

Now before you go all crazy thinking you are impervious on the streets while chatting on the phone, you should know that the study was only looking at talking, not texting, not data use. The principals of the study want to dig deeper and see if there is any correlation related to the age of the driver (certainly likely) and also research further as it relates to smartphone use.

“Rash drivers will always find a way to distract themselves.”

source: BBC

8 Comments
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posted on 10 Aug 2013, 23:57 5

1. nobelset (Posts: 270; Member since: 17 Oct 2012)


Once I was talking on the phone and walking towards the bus stop near my school. Nothing happened for the first 10minutes. Then I got distracted by a picture of Taylor Swift on a bus and the next thing I knew I walked right into a lamp post. Unless you're talking with your 3 year old/dog on the phone, it's not that distractive xD

posted on 11 Aug 2013, 00:30 4

4. dan86 (Posts: 298; Member since: 17 Mar 2012)


These surveys are all time crazy. First they say its bad then they say no, it ain't that bad. Then again it turns out to be bad. The statement changes like a woman's mood.

posted on 11 Aug 2013, 03:06

5. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 3023; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)


Exaaaactly!!!
There are these articles in a newspaper section which is just insane!
Sometimes, coffee is bad for heart, sometimes they're not...sometimes something is good and sometimes not. It's just stupid news.

"We just know that we
saw a big jump in cellphone use and
there was no impact on the crash rate."...and that was so irrelevant! Maybe the majority of people heard about the distractions and decided to park first and then take the call, or maybe they didn't picked it up at all... Doesn't always mean like Dr. Vikram Pathania says.

posted on 11 Aug 2013, 00:06 2

2. Shatter (Posts: 2031; Member since: 29 May 2013)


If your car doesn't have bluetooth phone call support it doesn't cost that much to replace the stereo with one that does (like $100) and you get a better car stereo too...

posted on 11 Aug 2013, 00:13 1

3. nobelset (Posts: 270; Member since: 17 Oct 2012)


Yeaa, stock stereos suck :-(. But I guess pulling over when you know the conversation's gonna be long or not pleasant is a better solution.

posted on 11 Aug 2013, 10:57

6. gazmatic (Posts: 626; Member since: 06 Sep 2012)


still a dumb thing to do

bluetooth is much better and cheap

posted on 11 Aug 2013, 13:44

7. hopychangy (Posts: 5; Member since: 16 Mar 2010)


Listen to the radio while driving, then shut it off and see how more focused you will be. While on the phone, you are talking and listening. Think about it.

posted on 11 Aug 2013, 13:49

8. AdamLeonard (Posts: 45; Member since: 24 Aug 2011)


There are fewer people on the road at 9. The fact that there are not more accidents could be explained by fewer other cars to hit and more space between them.

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