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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a Virginia nonprofit organization, studied the cell phone records of 500 drivers involved in accidents in Perth, Australia from 2002-2004 and discovered that drivers using cell phones are four times more likely to have a serious accident.

Cell-phone records in the United States are not public record, so the IIHS sent investigators to Perth, where hands-free phones are required. Researchers spoke with victims at three hospitals and concluded that talking, not holding the phone, plays a greater role in causing accidents.

The study was published in the August issue of the British Medical Journal, and Insurance.com provides a summary and interviews the author and her colleague.

Additionally, Florida auto accident attorney Bob Carroll comments on a similar study conducted in Montana.

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