as per a study published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) (Utter, 2001 cited by Tseng, Nguyen, Liebowitz, & Agresti, 2005). The use of cellular phones while driving has been established as the major cause of driver inattention. The Harvard Center for Risk Analysis found that use of cell phones while driving caused 330,000 moderate to severe injuries and approximately 2,600 deaths each year (Sundeen, 2003 cited by Tseng et al., 2005). At the same time, according to Brookhuis, de Vries, & de Waard (1991), while talking on the cell phone drivers demonstrated decreased lane deviations (cited by Horrey & Wickens, 2004). Despite these inconsistencies, a total ban of cellular phone usage while operating a motor vehicle may drastically reduce road accidents.
Driver distraction can be classified into two types (internal distraction and external stimuli) and four categories – visual, cognitive, auditory and biomechanical distraction. Of these, auditory distraction is associated with cell phone usage (Tseng et al., 2005). This is more likely in case of hand-held phones but other studies demonstrate that primary cause of inattention is cognitive, which implies that even hands-free phones are equally dangerous (Horrey & Wickens).
Several studies have been conducted and on an average, it has been found that drivers talking on the mobile phones while driving have higher risks in car accidents compared to non-mobile phone users (Laberge-Nadeau et al., 2003; Wilson et al., 2003; Redelmeier and Tibshirani, 1997; Strayer and Drews, 2004 cited Tseng et al.). Use of mobile phones while driving increases the risk of collisions by four times, which is also confirmed by Redelmeier and Tibshirani (1997). In addition, frequent mobile phone users had relatively higher risk than rare-users. Being engaged on the cell phone while driving, is definitely more risky than listening to the radio or talking to other passengers while driving.
Horrey & Wickens,