Motorists using new or old cell phones while driving, according to an analysis by MLive.com, caused more than 9000 car crashes in Michigan over the course of the last ten years. In addition, some experts are claiming that the number might actually be even higher.
A nationwide ban on the use of cell phones while operating a motor vehicle is being sought by a federal safety agency. “It is underestimated,” claims state Office of Highway Safety Planning spokesperson Anne Readett, “but what we don’t know is by how much. Is it a little bit or a lot? I don’t know, nobody really does.”
Just how big the problem is can be difficult to ascertain because it is not always obvious at the scene of a car crash as to whether a cell phone was or was not involved, Readett notes, adding that drivers are hardly likely to admit to police if it was. Traffic crash data from Michigan State Police was analyzed by MLive.com, which found that a minimum of 800 crashes per year involved the use of cell phones since 2001. The data makes no distinction between text messaging or actual phone calls.
The National Transportation Safety Board has called for a total nationwide ban on the use of both handheld and hands-free devices by drivers, citing a chain reaction crash that happened in Missouri in 2010, which was caused by a driver text messaging and resulted 38 people being injured and two deaths.