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Data shows that cell phone bans won’t protect you from distracted drivers

Should Bethlehem Ban Handheld Cell Phone Use by Drivers?

5 Pennsylvania municipalities have passed ordinances making it a primary offense to drive while using a handheld cell phone.  Drivers in Erie, Allentown, Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Wilkes-Barre must put down their cell phones while driving or pay a fine.  Other municipalities such as Bethlehem are currently considering similar measures.

Using a Cell Phone While Driving is Dangerous

The reports and statistics that are available are all ominous and all confirm what many of us already now – using a cell phone while driving is dangerous.  The question becomes are the laws prohibiting cell phone use while driving effective?  Will they prevent crashes and save lives?

Laws Prohibiting Handheld Cell Phone Use May Not be the Answer

In January, a study by the Highway Loss Data Institute was released that found the statewide handheld cell phone bans in California, New York and Connecticut, and the ban in Washington D.C., did not reduce the accident rate in those locations despite the decrease in handheld cell phone use while driving.

A possible reason for the surprising fact that accidents have not decreased may be because people are simply using hands free devices instead of foregoing their phone use altogether.  Hands free devices may be as dangerous as hand held devices and the laws may, therefore, be ineffective at protecting people from cell phone related car accidents.

How to Protect Yourself

It is a wise policy not to use a cell phone – at all – while you are driving.  While you can’t prevent others from following the same policy, you can drive defensively and alertly.  If you are in an accident, you can hire a personal injury lawyer and make sure that the other driver is held accountable for his or her negligence.

Don’t count on the new cell phone bans to protect you – the data shows that they won’t.

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