Monday, June 14, 2010

Study on Banning Cell Phones While Driving

A possible ban on cell phone use while driving is one of the high-profile measures before the General Assembly this year.
A research institute that examined the impact of cell phone bans in other states has concluded the laws have shown mixed results.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has released several studies on cell phone bans in recent months. One report shows the laws successfully reduce the number of people who talk on hand-held phones while behind the wheel.
But another study, which analyzed collision claims in cities and states that had recently enacted bans, led to a surprising conclusion, according to researcher Ann McCartt.

"Our finding, which was somewhat unexpected, was that these bans seem not to be affecting crashes. So they effect hand-held phone use, but they do not affect crashes."

Crash rates before and after the cell phone bans went into effect were essentially the same. McCartt says the rates were also similar to neighboring states and cities that did not have a ban in place. The report focused on New York, Connecticut, California and Washington, DC.
The Institute is a non-profit organization funded by insurance companies.
Both the state Senate and House have passed bills in recent months that would restrict cell phone use for drivers. The two chambers differ on how stiff they want penalties to be, but leaders in both parties say they support the idea of a ban.

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