Health risks are part of our daily lives. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) 2002 Annual Report focused on Reducing Risks, Promoting Health Lives.

According to WHO, risk is defined as a probability of an adverse health outcome, or a factor that raises this probability.

The probability is that more people will die in car accidents caused by talking on cell phones and driving-while-texting.

The latest Harris Poll, Large Majority of Drivers Who Own Cell Phones Use Them While Driving, Even Though They Know This Is Dangerous, finds that 9 in 10 cell phone users know that using cell phones while driving is dangerous, but they do so anyway.

According to the Poll, 27% of cell phone users surveyed — all adults over 18 — text while driving, sometimes (22%) or “all of the time” (5%).

The National Safety Council says that talking on a cell phone puts drivers at a four-times greater risk of a car crash. NSC data demonstrates that cell phone use contributes to 6% of all car crashes. In total, this leads to 330,000 injuries, 12,000 serious injuries and 2,600 deaths each year.

Beyond ‘just’ talking on the phone while driving, welcome to the next cell phone-phenomenon: Driving While Texting – “DWT” for those of you who need the acronym.

According to Vlingo, who develops speech recognition technology for wireless phones, over 26% of cell phone users in the U.S. text while driving. This varies by state: Tennessee has the most active DWTers, at 42% of cell phone users.

This Harris Poll was conducted online in May 2009 among 2,681 adults 18 and over.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: Using cell phones while driving is clearly a health risk – a major one. DWT’ing probably yields an even greater health risk than talking.

RIP, DWTers. Pity the people on the road with you – whether passengers in your car, or sharing the same route at the same time.

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