March 19, 1996 in Nation/World

Cellular Phone In Car Always Handy For Calling Wrecker

Associated Press
 

“Aaarrrggh! I’m going to have to hang up, boss. I’ve just run into the back of a truck.”

People with a cellular phone in the car run a 34 percent higher risk of having an accident, researchers said Monday. The danger mounts when they use the phone a lot or while doing something else, such as lighting a cigarette or drinking coffee.

“They kind of forget about the rest of the world,” said John Violanti, a criminal justice professor at Rochester Institute of Technology.

The study appears in the March issue of Accident Analysis and Prevention.

The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association dismissed it as limited and flawed.

“It has glaring research shortcomings,” said spokeswoman Pam Small.

Violanti and James Marshall, a professor of social and preventive medicine at the State University of New York at Buffalo, randomly selected 100 New York motorists who had been in accidents and 100 who had not.

Of those in accidents, 13.7 percent owned a cell phone, while 10.6 percent of accident-free drivers had a phone. Not everyone answered the poll.

About one in 10 motorists in the United States owns a car phone.

© Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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