Cellphone use involved in more than 1 in 4 car crashes

Cellphone use involved in more than 1 in 4 car crashes

Latest National Safety Council estimates cite handheld/hands-free calls and texting for crashes

Cellphone-related car crashes were up for the third straight year in the United States and now account for more than one in four crashes, according to the National Safety Council.

The nonprofit council created by Congress in 1913, a few years before cellphones came onto the scene, has based its latest report on crash stats from 2013. Its numbers involve crashes involving drivers who are texting or talking on either handheld or hands-free phones.

The Council estimates texting-related crashes rose from 5% to 6% while those involving talking on phones stayed at 21%, for a total of 27% of the 5.7 million crashes in 2013.

"While the public understands the risks associated with distracted driving, the data shows the behavior continues - we need better education, laws and enforcement to make our roads safer for everyone," said Council CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman, in a statement.

MORE:College students admit they'll text during anything (and I mean anything) | NTSB: Distracted driving among top 10 transportation safety challenges 

The Council's formula takes into account federal fatality data, observational data and research into crash risks. The Council contends that cellphone-related crash information is underreported in the basic federal fatality data.

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