Hands-Free Cell Phones Dangerous, Causing Car Accidents in Phoenix and Elsewhere, says NSC

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, only school bus drivers in the state are prohibited from using a hand-held cell phone while driving. All other drivers are allowed to make calls and send text messages while they drive. As we recently reported on our Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is recommending that a law be passed that bans the use of portable electronic devices by all drivers. Currently there are 35 states that have made text messaging at the wheel illegal and only nine that prohibit talking on hand-held cell phones.Officials with the National Safety Council (NSC) point out that it’s not just hand-held phones and text messaging that serves as a danger on our roadways. Hands-free devices may be just as dangerous. Still, no state has made it illegal for drivers to use a hands-free device while operating a motor vehicle.

Our Phoenix car accident attorneys understand that legislatures have been enacting laws to curb driver distractions since 2000, but no state has yet to completely ban all devices. Officials believe that such a law wouldn’t go over well with residents. Many have claimed that similar laws were in fact a violation of their personal freedoms, according to CNN.

“It’s just one of those things that would be the equivalent of the 18th Amendment today. It’s a Prohibition that would not work,” said David Adkins, of the The Council of State Governments.

Prohibition laws take time to gain the participation of the country. Think of our seat belt laws. The first of these laws were passed back in the ’80s. In recent years, a few remaining states enacted such laws to make it a nationwide law. Still, less than 85 percent of motorists wear a seat belt.

There have been a number of studies that have looked at driving quality when a hands-free cell phone us being used by a driver. The study concluded that driving skills are hindered just as much by hands-free use as by hand-held use.

Scenarios affected by hands-free cell phone use:

-Drivers who are using a hands-free device at the wheel have the same reaction time as a drunk driver.

-Drivers using hands-free devices in work zones take longer to slow their speed when following a vehicle. These drivers are more likely to brake hard than a driver who isn’t using a cell phone.

-In vehicles that have a rear-end collision warning system, a driver who is using a hands-free cell phone reacts slower to the device than a driver who isn’t using a cell phone.

Driver distractions have joined the list of top accident causes alongside speeding and alcohol. Every year, nearly one and a half million accidents occur because of accidents involving cell phone-using drivers. These accidents are completely preventable. While legislators argue the effects and regulation efforts of cell phone use by drivers, the bottom line is that talking on a phone, hands-free or otherwise, is dangerous.

If you’ve been injured in a Phoenix auto accident where another driver was distracted at the wheel, contact the Arizona injury attorneys at Abels & Annes for a free, no obligation consultation. Call 866-99-ABELS speak directly to a lawyer today. There is no fee unless you win.

Additional Resources:

Call for car-phone ban likely to meet busy signal in states
, by Michael Martinez and Zohreen Adamjee, CNN
More Blog Entries:

NHTSA Released New Reports Regarding 2010 Car Accidents in Arizona, Nation, Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, December 11, 2011

Arizona injury lawyer takes on new auto accident case, Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, October 11, 2011

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