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  1. #1
    Jenna's Avatar
    Jenna is offline sheep
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    Cell phone bans don't reduce accidents

    - A new study suggests laws banning the use of hand-held devices while driving have not reduced the rate of accidents in three states and the District of Columbia.

    In addition to the nation's capital, the report by the Highway Loss Data Institute reviews insurance claims in New York, Connecticut and California. It also compares the data to other areas that do not have cell phone bans.

    "The laws aren't reducing crashes, even though we know that such laws have reduced hand-held phone use, and several studies have established that phoning while driving increases crash risk," said Adrian Lund, president of the Highway Loss Data Institute.

    There were no fluctuations in collision rates before and after the laws were put in place, the report said.

    "So the new findings don't match what we already know about the risk of phoning and texting while driving," Lund added.

    According to the study, the crash rates in the nation's capital were the same as in Virginia and Maryland, which don't have laws limiting the use of cell phones while driving.

    Increased rates of crashes when drivers use hand-held cell phones have been well documented, so it's unclear why the four jurisdictions' accident rates did not mirror the trend after their cell phone bans took effect.

    Lund said the Highway Loss Data Institute is trying to determine why the ban does not have an impact on the rate of accidents. One of the options is that drivers in jurisdictions that ban cell phones while driving may be resorting to using hands-free devices, whose accident rates are the same as hand-held devices, he said.

    "In this case, crashes wouldn't go down because the risk is about the same, regardless of whether the phones are hand-held or hands-free," the study said.
    More here: Study: Cell phone bans don't reduce accidents - CNN.com

  2. #2
    ChesCopPodz's Avatar
    ChesCopPodz is offline Wandering son
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    If you've ever driven in DC, you know that A) people don't pay attention to the law in the first place and B) that might be the one place where drivers drive bad enough that even talking on the phone doesn't really add to how bad they drive
    The world would be much cleaner if blind people carried brooms instead of sticks.

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  3. #3
    TXCharlie's Avatar
    TXCharlie is offline Former & Future Reserve Officer
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    Yeah, lawmakers keep passing laws but don't fund the enforcement over the long haul...

    Is the law even enforceable, and is it even possible to determine how much cell phone use has changed? How do they really "know that such laws have reduced hand-held phone use", and by how much?

    The study would be totally invalid if they just took peoples' word for whether they've stopped using their phones or not while driving - I think you'd to send people throughout the state with binoculars, or set up telephoto cameras to determine that. Maybe they could get a very rough estimate by monitoring trends in cell phone tower usage near major roads, but that's not going to tell you much in congested areas of the city.

    I'd bet the majority of people who stopped using their cell phones are the same people who are careful anyway.

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  4. #4
    Standard Dave's Avatar
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    The enforcement is the key if a law is going to have any effect on behaviour, have the drivers stopped using hand held mobile phones.

    Also what is the punishment for using a hand held phone? is it a deterant.

    When it was first introduced in the Uk it was a 30 fine that dependant on the exchage rate is around $30 to 45.
    The fine is now double at 60 and carries 3 points on your licence (12 gets you banned) which insurance companies can use to increase your premium.
    "all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing" Edmund Burke.
    "the world is a dangerous place place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who do not do anything about it" Albert Einstein

  5. #5
    TXCharlie's Avatar
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    Texas has a statewide ban on handheld cell phones in School Zones now, but only during the times when the speed limits are reduced - The fine is somewhere around $200, I think.

    When our town passed a similar ordnance a few years ago, there was a big huge crackdown, when dozens of $250 tickets were issued in just a few days. Now the enforcement is primarily centered on speed again, so cell phone tickets have dried up to a trickle.

    That doesn't mean the usage has dropped - I see at least a couple of people using cell phones almost every time I pass through the school zones in the mornings, usually by women driving their kids to school it seems. It'd be like shooting fish in a barrell if they would really enforce it.

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