A survey conducted by the Ministry of Health found that one in five Brazilians use their cell phone while driving--behavior that represents a risk for traffic accidents.
The data is from the Vigitel, an annual study conducted by the federal government organ that monitors risk factors for diseases and other problems that impact on the health system. Fifty-two thousand three hundred ninety-five people over 18 years of age living in capitals participated in the survey.
In all, 19.3% of the population in these places said that they use the cell phone while driving. Among those aged 25 to 34, the percentage is 25%.
Since 2016, the use of mobile phones while driving has constituted a severe infraction, with a loss of seven points in the portfolio and a fine of R $ 293.47.
Among the capitals, BelÃ©m, Rio Branco, and CuiabÃ¡ have the highest number of drivers who admit to using the cell phone while driving, all around 24%. Those with the lowest index are Salvador (14.2%), Rio de Janeiro (17.2%) and SÃ£o Paulo (17.4%).
"There are studies that show that a driver loses eight to nine seconds of attention while driving on the road when answering a call on the cell phone," says Eduardo MacÃ¡rio, director of the ministry's health analysis department. "When they refuse the call or respond to a message, it can take up to 20 seconds," the expert said.
Translated by Kiratiana Freelon