OLR Report 2015-R-0232 compares the number of people who died nationwide as the result of alcohol-impaired crashes with the number of people who died in crashes involving the use of cell phones.
A 2006 University of Utah study found:
Drivers using a cell phone exhibited a delay in their response to events in the driving scenario and were more likely to be involved in a traffic accident . . . Drivers in the alcohol condition exhibited a more aggressive driving style . . . With respect to traffic safety, the data suggest that the impairments associated with cell phone drivers may be as great as those commonly observed with intoxicated drivers.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 10,076 people were killed in alcohol-impaired crashes in 2013 compared to 445 who died in fatal crashes involving the use of cell phones. The number of people who died in crashes involving cell phones was about 4.4% of the number who died in alcohol-impaired crashes.
While alcohol-impaired crashes caused 31% of the 32,719 U.S. traffic deaths in 2013, NHTSA reports that fatalities in alcohol-impaired crashes decreased by 23% between 2004 and 2013.
Read the full report here.