PANORAMA CITY (CBSLA.com) — Drivers have heard of the dangers of texting and driving, but a new study finds dialing and driving could be even more hazardous.
In a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine Wednesday, researchers recorded the number of crashes and near-crashes among new and experienced drivers and found dialing a cell phone was the most dangerous driving distraction.
The study identified other dangers, including reaching for a cell phone, surfing the internet, looking at an object on the side of the road and eating. Researchers found the danger to be far higher when a young driver was behind the wheel.
Lieutenant David Ferry with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Valley Traffic Division said the findings are not surprising.
“When someone starts to dial a phone, it’s time sensitive. So subconsciously they want to get those numbers in and they may take their eyes off the road just that much longer than, say, doing other types of distracted driving,” said Ferry.
Lt. Ferry says his department has launched a new education and enforcement campaign to stop distracted driving. Officers are now specifically looking for these drivers and issuing citations.
Officers are also reminding drivers that it is still illegal to dial, talk or text on a cell phone while stopped at a red light.
“We want to get you to put your cell phones away while you’re driving,” said Ferry. “I don’t want to go to another collision where someone’s been hurt or killed because someone couldn’t wait a few minutes.”