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UK study finds no link between phone use and car crash rates

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UK researchers have recently released some controversial result to a study which found no link between the number of American drivers making phone calls while driving and the number of collisions on US roads.

The British team examined over eight million car crashes, and all road fatalities, that occurred in the in eight US states between 2002 and 2005. The data was then divided into before-9pm and after-9pm, due to the fact that many American service providers were offering free after-9pm calls during the time period examined.

But how could the researchers know whether the phones were being used before a car crash?

They determined whether or not the phones that used multiple masts for a call – thus indicating movement – aligned with car crashes in the same locations. No such link was found.

Dr. Vikram Pathania of the London School of Economics said that they were taken aback by the numbers, thinking that they were wrong, so they went back and checked everything, but the numbers were correct.

While they saw a major jump in cell-phone use after 9pm, the researchers were very surprised to see that there was no impact on the crash rate.

We have to make it clear that even though this study does not link phone calls to car crashes, it did not measure texting or internet use, so don’t take this conclusion to mean that you can use phones while driving. Even though the use of phones increased after 9pm in the study, it’s also possible that at that time there were less cars on the road so fewer chances for collisions to occur.

The study also mentions that these results may not be consistent between different demographics, because the results might look very different if one focuses on young males or new drivers.

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