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Sunday, January 11, 2009
California Ban Texting While Driving
On January 1, 2009, texting while driving became illegal in the state of California, as it already is in six other states and the District of Columbia. Additionally, 17 states are enforcing laws prohibiting "novice drivers" (drivers under a certain age or with less than a full driver license) from using a phone while driving a vehicle.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 1 million U.S. people are talking on mobile phones while driving at any given moment. It has also been determined by NHTSA that a primary or contributing factor in as many as 25 percent of all police-reported traffic collisions - and thousands of collisions that aren't reported to the authorities - is driver inattention.
"Everyone knows that it is critical to stay focused when driving, but still many people multi-task behind the wheel, taking for granted the huge risks to the safety of themselves, their loved ones and everyone else on the road," said Joanne Helperin, Senior Features Editor for Edmunds.com, an online resource for automotive information. "There is a flurry of new legislation and debate about possible future laws, so if the threat of a collision doesn't motivate people to change their behavior, perhaps the threat of a ticket will."
Cell phone-related driving laws have been detailed by Edmunds.com in its article Cell Phone Laws by City and State. Hands-free cell phone options and related topics are evaluated in Driven to Distraction: Cell Phones in the Car.
"We agree that wireless technology is terrific, but just because it seems to be everywhere doesn't mean you have to use it everywhere," stated Helperin. "You never know: the most important call of your life could be the one you never make."
A comprehensive look at cell phone laws is available at Cell Phone Laws by State: (http://www.edmunds.com/ownership/audio/articles/131236/article.html).
A more specific examination of hands-free cell phone laws can be found at Look Officer, No Hands: (http://www.edmunds.com/ownership/audio/articles/127282/article.html).
Along with motor vehicle safety, driver education helps ensure the safety of Americans. As this technology becomes mainstream, please consider your safety and the safety of others when using this equipment in your motor vehicle.