“Would you drive the length of a football field at 55 mph with your eyes closed?
That question was posed by TimesDaily.com. According to the online publication, the National Highway Safety Administration states that is what it is like to take your eyes off the road for five seconds.
Hand-Held Versus Hands-Free
Cell phone technology is expanding at a rapid rate. Android and Apple smart-phones have the capability to surf Facebook, the internet, read emails, stream news, watch movies and videos, and take pictures at the touch of a finger. The technology is expected to expand to screens that bend, self-charging phones, and NFC chips that allow people to use their phones as boarding passes, hotel room keys, and payment cards.
Prof. David J. Hanson, Ph.D. of the Sociology Dept of State University of New York stated that researchers are well aware that there is no discernable difference in impairment between using hand-held and hands-free devices. Researchers question why legislation prohibits hand-held cell phone use but permits hands-free.
Texting – Still Worse than Drunk Driving
Experimental research conducted by Drs. Frank Drews, David Strayer and Dennis L. Crouch of the University of Utah proved that driving while texting is six times more dangerous than driving while drunk. According to the research, drivers who use hand-held devices are four times more likely to get into a serious crash resulting in injuries.
Deaths & Injuries
In March 2014, USA Today reported that 1 in 4 driver accidents are due to cell phone use. U.S. Department of Transportation labeled cell phone use while driving an epidemic. The CDC claims that every day nine people are killed and another 1,100 are injured due to the use of devices while driving.
Cell Phone Laws throughout the World
Sixty-six countries have entirely banned hand-held phone use while driving. Unfortunately, the U.S. is not one of them. However, the U.S., Canada, India, Mexico, and Pakistan prohibit the use hand held devices while driving in one or more states or provinces.
In the United States, all cell phone use and texting is banned for commercial drivers. Each state is encouraged to take a tougher stance on cell phone use while driving and the states are beginning to comply. Hand-held cell phone use is banned entirely in California, Connecticut (effective 10/2014), Delaware, D.C., Guam, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, Virgin Island, Washington, and West Virginia. These states have primary enforcements laws. Primary enforcement means an officer may cite a driver without any other offense. Forty-four states, including Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, currently ban texting while driving.
Currently not one single state bans all cell phone use for all drivers, but 37 of them ban novice drivers and 20 prohibit cell phone use for bus drivers.
Cell Phone Responsibility
According to a June 2014 AOL Auto News article, Americans are aware of the dangers of using a cell phone while driving, but do it anyway. Cell phone discipline and responsibility are vital to avoid becoming part of the growing statistics.
In the U.S., companies and celebrities, such as the AT&T, Better Business Bureau, Oprah, Brad Paisley, Pixar, as well as many others have joined the campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of cell phone use. AT&T has a website called “It Can Wait.” where people can pledge to not text and drive.
The National Highway and Safety Administration’s “Stop the Texts. Stop the Wrecks, utilizes commercials and videos in its campaign.
One such commercial depicts a grieving mother asking how important a text was that caused a driver to look away from the road and disable her son for life.
In January 2013, Sharon Greenthal wrote a blog in Huffington Post that sums up what we all think from time to time.
“We think that those 5 seconds are inconsequential, and when we hear that “ding, ding” that means we’ve received a text, that text becomes more important than our safety or the safety of those around us on the road.”
In June 2014, Volkswagen launched a campaign named “Eyes on the Road,” to raise awareness of the dangers of cell phone use in Japan. New Car Net warns that cell phone use will be the Number One leading death in the U.K. by 2015. The US is not far behind.
As a personal injury law firm, we deal in auto accidents every single day. We gladly join in the campaign to encourage cell phone responsibility and strongly urge you to put your cell phones down completely while your vehicle is in motion.