A study conducted by the California Highway Patrol found cell phone use is the number one reason for accidents among distracted drivers.
According to researchers, during a six-month period in 2002, distracted drivers caused 5,677 accidents. Of those, 611 crashes, or 11 percent of the total, involved the use of cell phones; the cell phone-related accidents resulted in six deaths and 264 injuries.
Other driver distractions noted in the report, 511 accidents, or 9 percent, involved the use of the car radios and CD players; 234 crashes, or 4 percent, were caused by children in the car; and 207 accidents, or 3 percent, were caused by drivers who were eating.
The study was authorized by a bill signed into law in October of 2001 mandating the CHP produce an annual report on the role of cell phones and other driver distractions in accidents.
A new measure being considered at the State Capitol would require the use of hands-free devices when using a cell phone while driving.