Texting Linked to More Car Crashes Among Young

And, crash risk up for compulsive cell phone users: anticipation of phone use predictive of crashes

MONDAY, April 30 (HealthDay News) -- Among young drivers, texting is associated with a higher risk of motor vehicle crashes and dangerous driving, regardless of the cell phone position; and compulsive cell phone use is also linked with a higher risk of crashes, according to two studies presented at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies, held from April 28 to May 1 in Boston.

In the first study, Glade E. Inhofe, from Crime Commission Inc, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and colleagues assessed the impact of cell phone position on driving performance in 22 adolescents performing simulated drives. Participants completed identical drives without a cell phone, with the cell phone hidden (below the level of the steering wheel), and with the phone in the position of the driver's choice. They found that, regardless of phone position, texting while driving was associated with significantly more lane shifts, more crashes or near crashes, and more total infractions.

In the second study, Jennifer M. Whitehill, Ph.D., from the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues surveyed 384 college undergraduates on compulsive cell phone use and frequency of motor vehicle crashes. The researchers found that each one point increase on the Cell Phone Overuse Scale correlated with a significant 1 percent increase in the risk of crashes, after controlling for confounders. Greater emotional responses to phone use and greater anticipation of phone use were predictors of crashes.

"Compulsive cell phone use, especially more frequent anticipation of cell phone use and strong emotions relating to phone use, were positively associated with motor vehicle crash risk," Whitehill and colleagues conclude.

Abstract - Inhofe
Abstract - Whitehill
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