Be careful, there’s a half-million obstacles out there

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — A recent study by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) suggests there are 500,000 drivers chatting on cellular phones while driving.

According to NHTSA, slightly more than three per cent of female drivers and 2.7 per cent of male drivers are using the phones in traffic. The study is based on observations of more than 12,000 vehicles, at 650 intersections throughout the U.S.

“This is the first time we’ve done something like this on a national level,” says Dr. Joseph Carra, director of the National Centre for Statistics and Analysis, a division of the NHTSA.

In the past, surveys on cellphone use have been conducted over the telephone, which researchers say makes participants less forthcoming.

“We need also to understand how much driver performance is affected by cognitive distraction, not just physical distraction,” he adds.

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