A professor from the University of Illinois had recently conducted a study linking cell phone use with automobile accidents, but it does not overall dispute another study stating that mobile phones are not significantly responsible for collisions.
In their research, Sheldon Jacobson used data from 62 counties in the State of New York while looking at the relationship between the “pre and post ban on texting and cell phone use” while driving. They found out that at least 10 counties presented a statistically significant number of reductions in accidents. Out of the 62 counties, 46 of them showed a reduction in fatal mishaps. What is crucial in the study is that it appears that in larger counties in the state such as Queens, Bronx and New York, accidents have dropped higher. They attribute this to the density or the number of people in highly urbanized areas.
Jacobson explained that one who is distracted is more likely to hit someone in a road more congested as compared to being distracted with in a road with fewer cars. Said study would be published in an issue of a journal entitled “Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice.”
Together with his research team, Jacobson analyzed data which is publicly available from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. Two periods had actually been used. In the post ban period, information from 1997 to 2001 was utilized. In the post ban period, 2002 to 2007 was used. It must be noted that the ban had been in effect since 2001 in New York State.
While acknowledging the fact that other factors may contribute to the accuracy of the finding, Jacobson’s study emphasizes the impact of using hand held phones as an element of distraction. The factors he mentioned affecting the quantitative value of the study includes driver education programs, road construction, storms and other components which a driver has no direct control of.
It must be noted that while texting is banned in many states, some still allow the use of hand-free devices in order to use their phones while driving. The Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), on its research, found out that there is no reduction in the accident rates within areas where there is an existing ban while talking on a mobile phone. According to Adrian Lund, president of HLDI, the laws have reduced hand-held phone use but they are not reducing crashes. However, these may be referred to as “overall” crashes. Jacobson’s study, on the other hand, suggests that the laws are much more effectual in densely populated areas.