Why Do American Drivers Use Cellphones More Than Europeans?

Posted on March 19, 2013

Yesterday, we spoke briefly about a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study posted in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report that showed Americans texted and used their cellphones behind the wheel at greater rates than citizens in much of Europe.  When it came to talking on the phone in the past 30 days, a whopping 70% of Americans copped to engaging in the activity, whereas every other European country surveyed besides Portugal posted rates lower than 50%.

A New York Times piece attempts to get to the bottom of this phenomenon, and it features statements from the CDC’s principal deputy director.  She worries that cellphone usage does not appear to be going down despite the passage of laws and the enactment of awareness campaigns across the entire country.  She believes that our country’s increasing reliance on mobile devices has led to a reluctance to part with our phones even when not doing so could be hazardous.

It’s suggested that the difference between our country and Europe might come down to differences in the culture.  Or, it could have to do with the way laws are passed in our country versus those in Europe.  In some of the nations studied, lawmakers at the national level have passed laws against cellphone behavior, whereas in America, the issue has been left up to the discretion of each state.

The CDC spokesperson would like to see more done to combat the issue.

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