This is a verbatim quote: "If using mobile phones is significantly dangerous then we could expect to see a dramatic increase in traffic accidents in the last decade. In fact, the reverse is true." The AMTA indicates that a tenth of 1 percent of Australian crashes are "related" to illegal cellphone use: http://www.keepyoureyesontheroad.org.au/pages/Accident-statistics-Cont# "Between 1997 and 2011 there were around 50,000 crashes each year on NSW roads and less than 0.1 per cent of all crashes were related to illegal hand-held mobile phone use."
Two caveats: - We need to know what they mean by "related", and, - We need to explore what they mean by "illegal" cellphone use.
You'll note that they say about Australia the same things I've been saying about the USA, which is: "Almost all Australian drivers now own a mobile phone, but the road fatality reduction has continued despite the exponential increase in mobile phone ownership over the last two decades. "
They do point out an interesting quirk of the statistics, which I hadn't thought about, but which makes sense at face value: "the dramatic increase in use of mobiles also increases the chance of a fatal crash occurring when a driver is using a mobile phone (both legally or illegally) and this may or may not be a causal association."
There is one other interesting statistic: "A recent analysis of 340 serious casualty crashes in Victoria and NSW between 2000 and 2011, using data gleaned from forensic examination of crash scenes and anonymous interviews with drivers has found that in 0.9 per cent of crashes the driver was *using* a mobile phone."
Caveat: - Using a cellphone does not mean the accident was caused by using it!
They summarize the situation in Australia as: http://www.keepyoureyesontheroad.org.au/pages/Accident-statistics-Cont "While mobile phones are a real distraction in the car and their use can result in serious accidents, real life accident data indicates that mobile phone use does not contribute significantly to crashes or fatalities."