A study that’s being published in this week’s issue of BMJ (neé the British Medical Journal) yet again demonstrates that using cellphones while driving increases the likelihood of being in an accident. (The full PDF of the article is also available.) The specific conclusions of the study were that use of a cellphone increases the likelihood of an accident by four times, and the risk is the same whether the driver was using the phone normally or using a hands-free set with the phone. In addition, nearly all accidents were associated with at least one injury, and nearly half resulted in two or more injuries, injuries which required visits to hospitals for care.

Living in a town like Boston, where the rules of the road have been demoted into weak suggestions, this is all the more frightening. I walk more than a mile and a half each way to and from work, and I’d say that nearly a third of the time that I’m threatened (in a crosswalk, at a driveway) by a two-ton hunk of metal on wheels, the driver of said vehicle is obviously chatting away on a phone and even more oblivious to the world around the car than the average Masshole driver. Unfortunately for me, if a driver’s use of a cellphone ends up involving me in an accident, I’m likely to be the injured one — I’m on foot, and the driver’s wrapped up in a protective cocoon of steel and plastic. That just sucks.