Publication Details

Characteristics of cell phone-related motor vehicle crashes in North Carolina

Type: article

Author(s): Huang, Herman; Stutts, Jane; Hunter, William

Pages: 10-19


Publication Date: Jan-2003

Journal: Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board

Volume: 1843

Issn: 0361-1981

Doi: 10.3141/1843-02

Abstract: Computerized crash narratives for the period January 1, 1996, through August 31, 2000, were searched to identify 452 cell phone crashes that occurred in North Carolina. The characteristics of these crashes were compared with about 1,080,000 non-cell-phone crashes during the same period. Cell phone crashes were (a) less likely to result in a serious or fatal injury, (b) nearly twice as likely to be rear-end crashes, and (c) somewhat more likely to occur during the mid-day or afternoon hours. Moreover, cell phone crashes were more likely to occur in urban areas, on local streets, and on roads with “no special feature.” Drivers who were talking on a cell phone at the time of the crash were more likely to (a) have committed a driving violation, (b) be driving sport utility vehicles, and (c) be going straight. They were more likely to be male and under age 55. All of these cell phone versus non-cell-phone differences were statistically significant. As cell phones continue to proliferate, the number of cell phone crashes will probably increase. The challenge is to minimize the risks associated with cell phone use and driving, while allowing drivers to enjoy the benefits of cell phones.