A national safety organization that championed mandatory seat belt laws is now calling on governors and legislators in all 50 states to ban cell phone use while driving.
The National Safety Council (NSC) is advocating legislation to ban all types of cell phone use on the road, including hands-free usage.
Now, six states have bans on driving while talking on a hand-held cell phone: California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Utah and Washington. It’s also banned in the District of Columbia, and at least five other states have cities and towns with bans.
The organization acknowledges that it’ll take a long time to get all states to pass such legislation, so it’s also urging businesses to enact policies prohibiting the practice.
The NSC notes results of several studies to back up its call, including:
- Drivers are at a four times greater risk of a crash
- Cell phone use contributes to 6% of crashes, and
- The annual financial toll of cell phone-related crashes is $43 billion.
Anticipating some of the arguments against cell phone bans, the NSC admits other in-car activities are more dangerous than using cell phones. However, the group says as cell phone use has become so prevalent, it has become more dangerous overall.
Also, studies show that hands-free devices don’t make cell phone calls while driving safe.
What’s the difference between talking on a hands-free phone and speaking with someone else in a car? Unlike the passenger sitting next to you, the person on the other end of the call is oblivious to what’s happening around the driver on the road. The passenger provides another pair of eyes and can help keep the driver alert.
Do you think a total ban on cell phone use while driving is necessary? Does your company have a policy banning your employees from using cell phones while driving for business? Does that ban include hands-free usage? Let us know in the Comments Box below.
The NSC has set up a Web page with resources and data at http://distracteddriving.nsc.org.