In this Canadian study, data from the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia Traffic Accident System were used to determine whether cell phone use while driving increased motor vehicle crash culpability. Crashes involving drivers using a cell phone were compared to more than 900 matched cases that did not involve cell phone use. Police reports were assessed for crash culpability using a standardized scoring tool that was adapted to account for Canadian driving conditions.
The results of this study showed that the odds of a culpable crash increased by 70% when drivers used a cell phone as compared to drivers who did not use a cell phone. In addition, the subgroup analyses revealed an association for male drivers, unimpaired drivers, injured and non-injured drivers, and for drivers between 26 and 65 years of age. Authors suggested that future research examine whether the association between handheld and hands-free phones and crashes continues, and gauge the effectiveness of existing policies that restrict the use of cell phones while driving.
Asbridge, M., Brubacher, J. R., & Chan, H. (2012). Cell phone use and traffic crash risk: a culpability analysis. International Journal of Epidemiology, 42(1), 259-267.