Study: 16,000 Auto Deaths Caused By Cell Phones, Texting

If one definition of "wellness" is "avoiding death," then this story should give some readers pause. Reuter's reports the results of a study at the University of North Texas that determined there were 16,000 automobile fatalities resulting from cell phone use between 2001 and 2006.

"Our results suggested that recent and rapid increases in texting volumes have resulted in thousands of additional road fatalities in the United States," Fernando Wilson and Jim Stimpson of the University of North Texas Health Science Center wrote in the American Journal of Public Health.

In my personal, unscientific estimation, turning on a cell phone in a car instantly makes you between 55 and 80 percent more stupid. I first noticed the phenomenon when I lived in New York and would see the difference in cab drivers who were talking on the phone vs. concentrating on their driving -- the minute the phone rang and the driver said "hello," he instantly started making worse decisions, even if he was wearing a bluetooth or wired earpiece. And these were generally very experienced drivers.

The same behavior clearly translates here in Jackson -- erratic lane choice, late decisions, speeds incompatible with the flow of traffic -- all are signs that you're on the cell phone. And someone going abruptly from one side of a lane to the other -- with quick jerks back to center -- is a classic case of a texting driver.

Just don't do it. The science is there -- you're significantly increasing your chance of death if you use a phone or text while driving -- and it's common sense, too.

Previous Comments


I finally stopped reading emails while I drive. I was eating a double scoop of ice cream - lemon and black walnut, and a fool stopped suddenly in front of me. I missed the vehicle which made me very happy, but I lost my ice cream which made me very angry. I picked it up and tried to eat it anyway but the dust, grease, mole and slime just wasn't very tasty. I always knew texting and driving was a crazy act, but I though eating ice cream, reading emails and driving was alright. We got to get this sad situation under control, though. I'm all for creating laws to punish it severely.



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