Of great interest to the insurance industry, statistics indicate that distractions such as talking on a cell phone have a direct impact on auto accidents (and insurance premiums). According to an article in Insurance Journal (see here):
The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported in April that 25 percent of all car accidents are caused by distractions. A survey done by Nationwide Mutual Insurance in 2007 indicated that 73 percent of drivers talk on cell phones while driving
A few states, including New York and Connecticut, have instituted bans on cell phone use while driving. Now, a study from the University of South Carolina has confirmed that communicating on a cell phone while driving can be distracting (see here).
We measured their attention level and found that subjects were four times more distracted while preparing to speak or speaking than when they were listening