Allow me to quote from the source material: "In 2000, five percent (5%) of all drivers observed on Dallas area highways were using a handheld cell phone during the afternoon peak period." So notes Page 145 of a 266-page National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study completed in 2003 but made available only today, via the Center for Auto Safety, which has fought for the release of the report for years and which provided a copy to The New York Times.
That bit about Dallas's drivers isn't particularly new: It comes from a 2001 study conducted by the Texas Transportation Institute, Extent and Effects of Handheld Cellular Telephone Use While Driving. But the NHTSA's report is new to you because, as The Times reports today, "the former head of the highway safety agency said he was urged to withhold the research to avoid antagonizing members of Congress who had warned the agency to stick to its mission of gathering safety data but not to lobby states." The other takeaway: "Research shows that motorists talking on a phone are four times as likely to crash as other drivers, and are as likely to cause an accident as someone with a .08 blood alcohol content.
But, hey, we're used to it, right -- remember the DFW's No. 2 ranking on that Least Courteous Cities list? C'mon, I texted it to you while we were driving.