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Laws banning drivers from using handheld cellphones while behind the wheel don't help to reduce crashes, a study by the Highway Loss Data Institute has found. The institute, which is affiliated with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, calculated monthly collision claims in New York, the District of Columbia, Connecticut and California before and after these states passed such laws. They compared this data to data from nearby jurisdictions that do not have specific laws banning the use of the devices.
Pennsylvania, many years ago, solved this problem of cell phone,texting, lighting a cigarette, or anything else that took a hand from the steering wheel,that is except, "for shifting or hand signaling" Light a cigarestte? Ticket time if it is seen by an officer.
We need new laws to prevent drivers from texting, while driving? No, two hands on the steer wheel will prevent that. And any other activity while driving. That is the offense; "Operating vehicle without two hands on steering wheel." How do I know this? Personal experience.Now, in concern, trepidation, we clutch the wheel at that driver test---then it is hair repair, lipstick, text, cell phone, et al--all take the eye and attention of the driver from the act of operating safely. The study is flawed. Anything that takes the driver attention away,is improper, and actually is already illegal.
I drive a car in a metropolitan area and can observe the habits of many drivers on a regular basis.
Distraction items definately contribute to accidents on the road - however one thing that seems to be left out of this study -
is that many drivers do not pay attention to traffic and the environment around them in the first place. Poor driving habits contribute to the accidents on the road - and then the distraction items such as cellphones only further complicate the matter. People change lanes without signalling, do not use the side view or rear view mirrors very often, and don't observe the flow of the traffic pattern they are driving in. An example -there can be stopped traffic ahead but the driver will continue to accelarate until they reach the jam and suddenly have to hit the brakes. Only then do they bother to look in the mirror to see if the lane next to them is open to move into, and have to swerve or brake again as the car from the other side moves suddenly into the lane without signalling. When weather conditions are severe, such as ice or snow, this type of driving leads to multiple accidents as slamming on the brakes causes all kinds of skidding around. Add the cellphone to this - it's the icing on the accident cake.
How about creating a 5 year driving skills test?
It doesn't matter whether or not you have a hands-free version or not. The fact is if you are having a conversation with someone not in the car it distracts you enough to make you a dangerous motorist. You are distracted plain and simple. Your mind is on the telephone call, not the road.
All the study proves is:
Laws banning drivers from using cell phone are ineffective if they don't have a real penalty and are not enforced!
In California the law is weak with an insignificant fine and it is NOT enforced! I have had many close encounters with idiots talking on cell phones or texting since the law went into effect. I had to radically swerve to miss a head on collision just a few days ago. I can still see the idiot young girl laughing with the cell phone as she went by half way into my lane across a double yellow line. I don't think she even saw me! The law has changed nothing because people totally ignore it and so does law enforcement. So, why would statistics change? You would think an organization that deals with safety would be more responsible in considering all factors to determine results of a study!
What is needed is signal jammers installed in cars as safety requirements to prevent use of cell phones in cars with the motor running.