By JohnDistracted Driving

A study of Australian drivers discovered that the use of any cell phone, even hands-free, carries a four times higher risk of serious accidents.

Male and female drivers experienced about the same increased risk from phone use, as well as drivers older and younger than 30 and those who used hands-free phones.

89 percent of the crashes involved other vehicles. More than half of the crashes occurred within 10 minutes of the trip’s start.

One reason the study was conducted in Australia was to estimate crash risk in an area where hand-held phone use is banned. It has been illegal since July 2001. Yet, one-third of the drivers said their calls were placed on hand-held phones.

Banning hand-held phone use won’t necessarily enhance safety if drivers switch to hands-free phones since crash risk was the same for both phones.

Most adults who drive admit to engaging in distracted driving habits, according to a HealthyDay poll from November 2011. The poll had 2,800 Americans respond to it and showed that while driving 37 percent of drivers have sent or received text messages, 41 percent have set or changed a GPS system and about 13 percent of drivers surfed the Internet.

About 6,000 deaths and half a million injuries are caused by distracted drivers every year. If you or a loved one has been harmed by a distracted driver, contact Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP today.

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