Cellphone accident rates have changed little
With so much being made of the dangers of using a cellphone while driving, one would expect that, over the years, accident rates would have increased in some proportion to the number of cellphones in use. However, according the government statistics, this has not been the case. Accident rates since 1990 -- except for a blip in 2000 -- have declined or remained essentially steady through 2009, while the number of cellphone subscribers has exploded from 5.2 million to 276.6 million during the same period.
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Fatal accidents involving distracted drivers did increase from 4,000 in 2005 to 5,300 in 2008 and then decreased to 4,900 in 2009. However the number of nonfatal injuries from accidents involving distracted drivers decreased from 640,000 in 2005 to 448,000 in 2009.
My guess is that lousy drivers are lousy drivers regardless of what they're doing. And, in spite of what my instincts tell me, there seem to be fewer lousy drivers on the road today than in the past.
David J. Wagner