Study: TN holds highest percentage of cell phone driving deaths

7:21 PM, Jul 24, 2013   |    comments
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 PDF Document: NSC Study

When it comes to cell phone-related crashes, Tennessee ranks worst in the country, according to a study from the National Safety Council.

The NSC took total fatality numbers in 2010 and 2011; both times, Tennessee had the worst numbers when it comes to the percentage of deaths caused by the use of a cell phone.

In 2010, it was 7.6%; 2011 was 10.6%.

"People don't realize how far the car actually travels when you look off the road," said THP Sgt. Randall Martin. "You take your eyes off the road for two seconds, how far your car traveled?"

It's been illegal to text while driving since 2009, but Sgt. Martin still sees people do it today.

"You watch the hands, the eyes, the head," he said. "You can't do it a few seconds. I mean can look down to pull a telephone number?"

In comparison to the national average, which ranks at 1.2% of all driving deaths related to cell phone usage, some experts said other states may have skewed reporting numbers.

"There may be 'under-reporting' from other states, which is making Tennessee skew on the bad scale of this," said Stephanie Milani with AAA. "We really need to take personal responsibility for that and say 'my safety, the safety of my passengers, the safety of others on the road.'"

While the NSC numbers were a few years ago, the numbers today could show a decrease.

The Department of Safety released the total number of car crashes caused by distracted driving in Tennessee, which includes cell phone use. In the total year of 2012, the number of those crashes were at 19,999; so far in 2013 it was at 8,463.

"It's going to take a group effort people the people who operate and own the devices, the people who make the laws to say 'okay how do we keep ourselves safe?'" Sgt. Martin said.

You can view the results of the study in PDF form on the link on the left side of this article.



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