This report was prepared under contract DTNH22-92-D-07002
sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,
U.S. Department of Transportation.



Michael Goodman, Ph.D., The NHTSA Contracting Officer's Technical Representative and Project Technical Director

Frances D. Bents, Vice President and General Manager for Research, Science and Technology, Dynamic Science, Inc. (DSI), Principal Investigator

Louis Tijerina, Ph.D., Transportation Research Center

Walter Wierwille, Ph.D., Virginia Tech

Neil Lerner, Ph.D., COMSIS Corporation1

Denise Benel, COMSIS Corporation1



Many individuals and organizations contributed time and talent in the preparation of this document. Louise Woodruff of DSI provided administrative support including typing, layout and design, and graphic production. Mr. Robert Schaar and Mr. Daniel Katz conducted the focus groups and analyzed the responses. Mr. Schaar also performed the market survey.

COMSIS Corporation served as subcontractor for this project. Mr. Geoffrey Steinberg and Ms. Debra Dekker of COMSIS Corporation contributed to the critical analysis of the human factors
literature. The Project Technical Director and Principal Investigator would like to especially thank Dr. Louis Tijerina, for his thoughtful review and comments including his significant contributions to the critical analysis of the human factors literature as well as to the conclusions and recommendations. Dr.Walter Wierwille, using information provided by the Highway Safety Research Center in North Carolina, is acknowledged for his innovative analysis of the trends in cellular telephone usage and crash involvement. Dr. Donald Reinfurt and Eric Rodgman, of the North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center are acknowledged for assembling relevant data to support Dr. Wierwille's analysis.

The NHTSA Office of Chief Counsel and in particular, Ms. Heidi Coleman are acknowledged for their insightful comments and assistance in the legislative area. Mr.Yukio Shiosaka was helpful in translating and interpreting the results of the Japanese National Police study. Ms. Ellie Sylvan of Mobile Mark Communications Antennas provided information on European laws.

The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) was generous in supplying industry sales information and educational literature. Mr. Bill Hollars, Director, Accident Records Division, State of Oklahoma, Department of Public Safety was very accommodating in responding to our numerous requests for additional information. Mr. Rogers of the State of Minnesota Department of Public Safety likewise responded quickly to our requests for information. Several members of the California Highway Patrol shared both data and insight relating to cellular telephone use and emergency response.

1 COMSIS Corporation has subsequently been purchased by WESTAT.

The Motorola Cellular Subscriber Group contributed the results of their customer surveys as well as additional information which helped the authors to better interpret the data. The staff at the Library of Congress Research Service devoted many hours to searches for international laws and regulations.

Accolades also belong to the media. Mr. John Davis and the entire staff of Motorweek at Maryland Public Television were very generous in sharing their time. Prevention Magazine included questions relating to cellular telephone usage by drivers in their 1996 survey at the request of the NHTSA. The Pennysaver, weekly publication in Anne Arundel County, Maryland also published our survey questions as a public service. The Farmers' Almanac is acknowledged for graciously allowing the use of Mr. Nicholas Trott's quote at the beginning of this report. Ziff Davis Publishing, publishers of PCWeek, is acknowledged for contributing their copywrited materials included in Chapter 6, and the New York Daily News for the closing article in Chapter 6.

The crash statistics and focus group information are based upon the excellent support provided by the law enforcement community in the Maryland, Virginia and District of Columbia region. Many thanks are extended to all those who worked so hard in coordinating our requests, and participating in the crash investigations and the
focus group meetings. Of particular note is the consistent support and good will extended by Sgt. Mike Fisher of the Maryland State Police.

The supporting law enforcement agencies include:

  • Alexandria Police Department
  • Baltimore City Police Department
  • Baltimore County Police Department
  • Fairfax City Police Department
  • Fairfax County Police Department
  • Howard County Police Department
  • Loudoun County Police Department
  • Maryland State Police: Headquarters staff and Annapolis, Easton, Forestville, Reisterstown and Salisbury Barracks.
  • Montgomery County Police Department
  • Northern Virginia Law Enforcement Academy
  • Ocean City, Maryland Police Department
  • Prince George's County Police Department
  • Prince William County Police Department
  • U.S. Park Police Service
  • Virginia State Police, Richmond and Fairfax

The translation of international studies and regulations was performed by The Language Institute.

To those we have failed to mention, and to the many citizens who have shared their comments and concerns, we extend our gratitude.

Document Table of Contents

An Investigation of the Safety Implications of Wireless Communications in Vehicles Acknowledgments