How many times we have heard the dangers of using cellphones while driving? Countless times. Many states even have anti-cellphone laws while driving. Surprisingly, a study reveals that the conventional wisdom may not be true.
The study was done by a team of researchers at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and London School of Economics (LSE). The time period was chosen to be between 2002 and 2005. More than eight million car crashes and all fatalities on road in eight U.S. states were examined over this three-year period. The timeslot that was chosen was before and after 9pm local time, because during that three years cellphone companies used to offer free night calls.
The study found that even though there was an increase in talking on cellphone while driving after 9pm, no increase in car crash was recorded during that time.
Prof Saurabh Bhargava from CMU and Dr. Vikram Pathania from LSE were “very surprised” by the results. In fact, they rerun the whole calculation, but found no errors in the numbers.
However, the researchers just took talking on cellphone while driving into their calculations. Textin and internet use were excluded. The findings could’ve been largely influenced by the choice. “”We just know that we saw a big jump in cellphone use and there was no impact on the crash rate,” Dr. Pathania said. “It may look different if you focus on young males or new drivers,” he added.
Dr. Pathania also stressed that further research on this matter should focus on smartphone use while driving
The findings were published in the American Economic Journal.
Thanks to: BBC