The National Safety Council is calling on motorists to stop using cell phones and messaging devices while driving. It is urging businesses to enact policies prohibiting it and governors and legislators in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to pass laws banning the behavior.

A study from the Harvard Center of Risk Analysis estimates that cell phone use while driving contributes to 6 percent of crashes, which equates to 636,000 crashes, 330,000 injuries, 12,000 serious injuries, and 2,600 deaths each year. The study also put the annual financial toll of cell phone-related crashes at $43 billion.

A significant amount of vehicular cell phone use is done on the job. Many businesses have already acknowledged the injuries and costs associated with this behavior by adopting policies that ban cell phone use by employees on the roads. Among NSC member businesses that responded to a survey, 45 percent said they have company policies prohibiting on-road cell phone use. Of those, 85 percent said the policies make no difference in business productivity.

The NSC will take a three-fold approach to leading change: advocating legislation; educating the public and businesses about the risk of cell phone use while driving; and supplementing distracted driving content in its training of 1.5 million people annually in defensive driving.

A fact sheet, data resources, and other information concerning cell phone use while driving are available on the NSC website at http://distracteddriving.nsc.org/.