In a report appearing in the American Journal of Public Health, two researchers at the University of North Texas Health Science Center write “Our results suggested that recent and rapid increases in texting volumes have resulted in thousands of additional road fatalities in the United States”
The research involved matching up road death statistics from each state with cell phone ownership and text message volume data supplied from the Federal Communications Commission.
They estimate that between 2001 and 2007 about 16,000 people were killed while driving and distracted while using their cell phones talking and texting. They conclude that ever increasing texting volume is the biggest reason for the deaths.
From 2002 to 2008 monthly texts rose from 1 million to 110 million. The researchers point their collective finger at smartphones as being the single biggest reason for the texting volume increase.
They estimate there’s a 19% increase in fatalities for every million new cell phone users due to driver distraction.
The researchers see enforcement as being a key problem in stopping users from using their phones while driving in states that have banned the practice, or limited it to hands free phones. They said “I guess a perfect solution would be installing cell phone jammers in every car but that is not going to happen,”