By William Bill Hurst
There’s growing support in the United States for statutory bans prohibiting hand-held cell phone usage while driving. There have been several recent scientific studies supporting not only banning hand-held cell phones but also wireless technology used in vehicles that are hands free. The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) currently advises all drivers not to use cell phones or other electronic devices while driving, regardless of current law. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood also has stated that he believes motorists are distracted by any use of mobile devices while driving including hands-free devices. As of December 2010, there are no states that have a ban on ALL cell phone use while driving. There are several laws banning hand-held cell phone use, and in particular texting for driver groups, primarily teens. Since 2009, twelve states have banned texting while driving, and of the other states, hand-held cell phone use is currently banned in eight states but not in Indiana. For more information on cell phone use laws in various states visit www.ghsa.net.
In 2003 the University of Utah psychologists published a study showing that motorists who talked on hand-held or hands-free cell phones are as impaired as drunk drivers [National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA)]. Both hands-free and hand -held cell phone conversations cause significant cognitive distraction to impair drivers’ performance resulting in crashes. In 2011, the National Safety Council published a paper called “Understanding the Distracted Brain…While Driving using Hand -Free Cell Phones is Risky Behavior”. According to this publication, drivers using hands-free mobile devices while driving have a tendency to look up but not see objects. WWW.nsc.org. It is known that the hands-free technology available in automobiles today give people a false sense of safety while they are talking. Ofter you will hear people complaining of people talking on cell phones, but seldom do you read or hear about the distraction cause by simply using hands-Free devices while talking to somebody in your vehicle. This is likely to change in the next few years.
Click link below for a discussion of a study that people who talk on cell phones while driving are as impaired as drunk drivers. Some studies have suggested as many as 2,600 people are killed each year from people driving while talking on a cell phone. A recent poll revealed that 2/3rds of Americans would support a ban on using cell phones while driving. For an interesting article please click on the links below:
Study: Talking on Cell Phone as Dangerous as Driving Drunk
Cell Phone Statistics
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