Save Our Teen Drivers

Advocating for driver's education changes. Educating the public on the problem. Finding a solution that saves lives.

More states to restrict cell phone use while driving

Posted by lapearce on May 31, 2009

21 states have now banned, or restricted, cell phone use for new drivers, and 24 other states have bills that would do the same (what are the five states without any restrictions? I’d like to know). These states have good reason to ban phones, the National Safety Council has found that drivers are 4x more likely to crash while using a cell phone. Inattention kills, and in today’s wired world it is so easier to pick up the phone and stop paying attention to the road around us. We’re all guilty of using our phones while we drive, but in some states, that can lead to a heavy fine, and for young drivers, even worse punishment.

Here are some of the new laws coming to a state near you:

Kentucky has two bills on the floor that would prohibit drivers from using cell phones while driving. Punishment for adults is a fine, for teen drivers, they get another 180 days added to their provisional license

Missouri passed a law that ban anyone under the sage of 21 from texting while driving at the cost of $200 and two points on your record. I have to wonder if we do become texting while driving experts after we turn 21, however.

Kansas (same article as above) prohibits anyone under the age of 16 1/2 from using a phone while driving. It’s a start, but this law is still too weak.

The Tulsa World article brings up some troubling statistics about the effectiveness of cell phone and texting bans, however:

he insurance institute last year studied a cell phone ban for drivers under 18 in North Carolina. Researchers found that teens leaving high school in the afternoon changed little before and after the ban started.

About 11 percent of teen drivers were seen using phones before the law. It increased to 12 percent after the ban, the study found.

Rader, the insurance institute spokesman, said laws restricting cell phone use don’t appear to be effective. He pointed out that most teens interviewed in North Carolina knew about the cell phone ban, but didn’t think it was vigorously enforced.

“If drivers don’t believe they are likely to be spotted and ticketed, they’re unlikely to change their behavior,” he said.

Another study of a ban on handheld cell phones for New York drivers turned up similar results. Cell phone use dropped immediately after the ban started, but a year later it had picked up again.

“As soon as the publicity died down, cell phone use went back up to almost where it was before,” Rader said.

The moral of the story us: if the laws aren’t being enforced, they won’t be followed. It doesn’t matter how dangerous talking and driving is, it doesn’t matter how many people die doing so, no enforcement = no compliance.


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