Cell Phones and Cars

California’s new law prohibiting non-handsfree cell usage by a driver in a moving vehicle goes into effect on July 1st and people are already saying it doesn’t go far enough.

There has been an explosion of cell phone usage in the last 10 years but no corresponding increase in traffic accident statistics, in fact they actually went down. Of course, laws like this don’t take into account any direct link between the two, just the presumed link, and more troubling is that they ignore existing laws governing the safe operation of a motor vehicle. I live in Joe Simitian’s district and would prefer that he spend 6 years of his time in the state legislature solving real problems instead of perceived ones.

I wonder how long it will take for Joe Simitian to call for banning cell phone use by pedestrians? That group accounts for 11% of all fatalities on California roads, surely if they were paying more attention they would be able to avoid hazards. If we’re going to use stats, then we would limit the ban to men (70% of all pedestrian fatalities) and only on Friday-Sunday (50% of all fatalities)… but like cell phones and cars the statistics point to a significant decrease in pedestrian fatalities on California roads over the last 10 years, down from 17%. (pedestrian statistics source here)

I’m worried. In less than two months, on July 1, a new state law will require all drivers 18 and older to use hands-free devices to make calls. But there’s a loophole big enough to drive a semi through. While teens under 18 cannot use any electronic device while driving, motorists over that age can still send text messages or check e-mail.

[From Roadshow: Text loophole weakens hands-free calling law for drivers – San Jose Mercury News]

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