You are driving through town after work when your spouse calls and asks you to pick up your daughter from school and take her to softball practice, then stop by the grocery store and buy bread- rye, pumpernickel, or maybe CRASH!! Today’s must-have accessory- the cell phone- has become an increasing threat on the roads, according to a new study that says the death toll from accidents caused by distracted drivers has more than doubled nationwide. A recent study by Harvard University’s Center for Risk Analysis estimates that 2,600 deaths per year in the United States can be blamed on drivers using their cell phones, compared with an estimated 1,000 fatalities in a study done by the center two years ago. The center also estimated that cell phone use while driving causes about 570,000 injuries and 1.5 million instances of property damage per year. Harvard researchers worked from a 1997 study of Canadian drivers that relied on billing records to determine whether they were on the phone at the time of their crash. That study found that chatting while driving increases the risk of an accident fourfold. Harvard’s estimates are based on an average cell phone owner using 600 minutes per year. Many individuals take driving for granted. They don’t understand the amount of attention it takes to operate a motor vehicle safely. Frustrated police say it is difficult to cite cell phone use as the direct cause of an accident. The real problem is driver inattentiveness, which also can result from listening to the radio or even daydreaming. Distracted drivers also strike curbs, run red lights, improperly pass school buses, and impede the flow of traffic. Courtesy of The Texas State Trooper’s Association.