Wednesday, March 7, 2012
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“These results suggest that the law banning handheld cell phone use while driving had a positive impact on reducing traffic fatalities and injuries,” said David Ragland, director of SafeTREC.
The number of injuries resulting from cell phone use while driving was down as well. According to an article posted by HandsFreeInfo.com, “Similar reductions occurred in the number of injuries, as well as deaths associated with cell phone use with hands-free accessories, SafeTREC said. Overall, California traffic deaths fell 22 percent in the two-year period, compared with the two years before the handheld cell phone law took effect.” As expected, the number of citations and convictions issued for distracted driving were up as well, increasing as the years progressed. The California DMV says there were 460,487 handheld cell phone convictions in 2011, up 22 percent compared with 2010 (361,260 convictions) and up 52 percent from 2009 (301,833).
“Highly visible and publicized enforcement, along with the cooperation of the motoring public to reduce distractions behind the wheel, has played a significant role in the reduction in collisions,” said California Highway Patrol Commissioner Joe Farrow.
In the past, several studies have questioned the effectiveness of cell phone driving bans. According to the article by HandsFreeInfo.com, “The Highway Loss Data Institute reported in early 2010 that auto insurance collision claims remained about the same in California and a few other states after they adopted bans on the use of handheld cell phones. (The study only reported on newer vehicles and did not include accidents in which no claims were made.)” So this new California Office of Traffic Safety news release on handheld cell phone death statistics is very encouraging news.
Do you use a Bluetooth or other hands-free device while driving? According to a reader survey, out of 1135 responses, our readers answered the following question:
1) Occasionally hold it to my ear—9%
2) Speaker Phone—10%
3) Always hold it to my ear—11%
4) Bluetooth Device—23%
5) Don’t use cell phone while driving—46%
Using a hands-free device just makes sense to me. Not only do I use my Bluetooth headset while driving, but since my cell phone is my only phone, I use the Bluetooth at home as well. This allows me to multi-task while talking on the phone (cooking dinner, working on the computer, etc.). It also keeps the crink out of my neck and arm by eliminating the need to hold the phone to my ear. You can get a great Bluetooth headset online and not pay a great deal of money for it.
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