Eighty percent of motor vehicle crashes in the United States involve distracted drivers, according to a government study that videotaped the drivers of 100 vehicles in northern Virginia and Washington D.C.

Researchers reviewed thousands of hours of video and data from sensor monitors linked to the drivers and discovered that driver distractions such as talking on a cell phone, eating, and applying make-up, can significantly increase the risk of a crash.

Of the popular multi-tasking activities drivers engage in while on the road, reaching for a moving object while driving showed the greatest potential for a crash – increasing the risk by nine times. Reading, applying make-up, and dialing a cell phone each increased the risk of a car accident by about three times.

Additionally, the study revealed drowsy driving as a factor that could enhance the driver''s risk of a crash or near-crash by four to six times. Drowsy driving is frequently underreported in police crash investigations, according to the study's authors.