Driver phone bans' impact doubted – USATODAY.com

This post was authored by Brian Nash and posted to The Eye Opener on February 8th, 2010.

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You need a study to tell you that distracted drivers are a menace?  Been on the road lately?

A new report by the Highway Loss Data Institute has now raised some question about whether the ban on hand-held phones has lowered the number of accidents in the 3 states (NY, Conn., CA) and the District of Columbia, which have had the ban in place.  See the report on this announcement - Driver phone bans’ impact doubted – USATODAY.com.

“Absolutely, we were surprised by these results,” says Adrian Lund, president of IIHS and HLDI. An Insurance Institute study in 2000 found that drivers talking on cellphones were four times as likely to crash as drivers not using phones. “The key finding is that crashes aren’t going down where handheld phone use has been banned,” Lund says. “This finding doesn’t augur well for any safety payoff from all the new laws that ban phone use and texting while driving.”

Hate to say it – but – maybe the key to safety is NOT whether cell phone usage is ‘hands-free’ but whether some folks just can’t drive and ‘chat’ at the same time.  Don’t get me wrong – I love using my hands-free to get things done while on the road.  Lund seems to agree that the issue appears to go beyond ‘hands-free or not’:

“We know that people talking hands-free are really not much safer than people talking handheld,” he says.

Wading in on the issue come two other ‘folks-in-the-know’

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and auto club AAA said the study’s implications were unclear. Both also said the findings should not be interpreted to suggest that banning texting while driving would be ineffective.

Well said (even though perhaps a bit obvious).  Some people can’t type correctly when they’re at their desks.  Texting in vehicles should be verboten in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  We’ll just have to wait and see what further research/studies report on the use of cell phones while driving – but from your own personal research (like every time you drive) – have you formed any conclusions how well some people drive and chat at the same time – hands-free or not?!!!

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