Traveling This summer? Know What Cell Phone Laws Apply

July 21, 2010

Before crossing state or county lines on your summer road trip, take a moment to learn what the cell phone laws are for any area you plan on visiting.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, talking on a cell phone while driving is now illegal in 8 states, the District of Columbia and many jurisdictions, and texting while driving is banned for all users in 30 states and the District of Columbia.

States that ban talking on cell phones when driving include California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Washington and the District of Columbia. In Utah, talking while driving is illegal only when the driver is also committing another moving violation other than speeding.

Even where states have not implemented bans, restrictions may apply by jurisdiction. Localities that have enacted restrictions on cell phone use include: Oahu, HI; Chicago, IL; Brookline, MA; Detroit, MI; Santa Fe, NM; Brooklyn, North Olmstead, and Walton Hills, OH; Conshohocken, Lebanon, and West Conshohocken, PA; Waupaca County, WI; and Cheyenne, WY.

States that ban texting when driving are highlighted in green on the map below, states shown in blue have restrictions for some driver segments, like young drivers and bus drivers. (For a full description of laws, see the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety‘s interactive maps)

Stay safe

Regardless of the legality of talking or texting while driving, numerous studies have made it clear that driving while talking on a cell phone (hand-held or hands-free), or texting significantly increases your accident risk. Consider the following stats:

  • Using a cell phone while driving, whether it’s hand-held or hands-free, delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent. (Source: University of Utah)
  • Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent. (Source: Carnegie Mellon)
  • Nearly 6,000 people died in 2008 in crashes involving a distracted driver, and more than half a million were injured. (Source: NHTSA)
  • Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
  • The annual cost of crashes caused by cell phone use is estimated at $43 billion (Source: Harvard Center for Risk Analysis).

This summer, may your trips be distraction free and your memories unencumbered by accidents.

Linda


Talking and Driving, a Dangerous Mix

January 23, 2010

The New York Times has compiled a great series of articles on the use of mobile phones while driving. It is a list worth perusing as distracted drivers, particularly those under 30, continue to wreak havoc on the roads.

For a listing of state-by-state cell phone driving laws, go to the Governors Highway Safety Association’s Cellphone Driving Laws Page.

Also, check out my previous blogs:

Linda


Teens Report High Levels of Texting While Driving – Parents Poor Role Models

November 18, 2009

The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project released a report Monday that found 25% of 16 to 17yr-olds who have cellphones say they text while driving.

The study also found that nearly half of Americans ages 12 to 17 say they’ve been in cars with someone who texted while behind the wheel.

However, perhaps the most disappointing finding was that teens say their parents are also texting behind the wheel. Pew found that “the frequency of teens reporting parent cellphone use behind the wheel in our focus groups was striking, and suggested, in many cases, that texting while driving is a family affair.”

Research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found even higher texting frequency. Their data indicates that 81% of U.S. residents said they have used their cellphone while driving, and that of the 82% of 16- to 17-year-olds who have cellphones, 52% said they use them while driving.

Teens know the risks – just think it won’t happen to them

“Many teens understand the risks of texting behind the wheel,” said Amanda Lenhart, co-author of the Pew report, “but the desire to stay connected is so strong for teens and their parents that safety sometimes takes a back seat to staying in touch with friends and family.”

For more information about the risks of texting and driving (like the stat saying Drivers who text behind the wheel have a 23 x greater risk of crashing), read my blogs:

Linda


Driving While Texting: Try the Gauge Your Distraction Game

September 14, 2009

R u sure u can txt & drive w/o trouble? Do you find yourself arguing with a spouse/child/carpool driver about the risks of texting and driving?

Now, check this out. The New York Times has created an enlightening game that measures your driving reaction time when affected by external distractions. Try it, and then recommend it to others.

textdrive1

Linda


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