CELL PHONE BAN WHILE DRIVING
Cell phone use while driving is categorized as a distraction. Research has shown that cell phone use whether talking or texting is the major cause of accidents. Though mobile use while driving is common, it is widely considered dangerous.
This has made many jurisdictions to make the use of cell phones while driving illegal. Others have enacted laws against hand held mobile phones but allow use of a hands free device. In other cases restrictions are directed only to minors or those who are newly qualified license holders.
A research was done to show the risk of cell phone use while driving through a questionnaire by SAAQ (Societe de l’ assurance automobile du Quebec) in 2003. 36,078 drivers responded.
The questionnaire asked about driving habits, risk exposure, collisions over the past 24 months, socio-demographic information, and cell phone use. The questionnaires were supported with data from cell phone companies and accident records held by police.
The study showed that the overall Relative Risk (RR) of having an accident for cell phone users when compared to non-cell phone users averaged 1.38 across all groups. When adjusted for kilometers driven per year and other crash risk exposures, RR was 1.11 for men and 1.21 for women. They also found out that increased cell phone use correlated with an increase in RR.
All state-level cell phone use laws in the U.S. are of primary enforcement type meaning an officer may cite a driver for using a hand-held cell phone without any other traffic offence having taken place – except in some cases involving newer, or novice drivers.
In case of secondary enforcement, a police officer may only stop or cite a driver for cell phone use if the driver has committed another primary violation at the same time.
The annual cost of distracted driving is U.S. $43 billion in damages. All this for an avoidable risk.