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Texting, Cellphone Use and Automobile Accidents – June 29, 2010

This weekend many of us will get into our automobiles to travel for the fourth of July weekend. As with all holiday weekends, please take extra care when getting behind the wheel of your car this year. Each year, roughly 37,000 traffic fatalities occur from accidents on our nation’s highways and roads. Although deaths due to car crashes have fallen in recent years, in large part because of enhanced safety restraints and other car safety innovations, they still represent the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of one and thirty four.

Holiday weekends add an increase in highway traffic and alcohol consumption to the normal causes of traffic fatalities. Please be careful this year.

While excessive speed contributes to about one third of all accidents, distractions while driving are a continuing concern. Concerns related to the increase in texting while driving, and the resultant increase in accidents due to inattention, has caused a large number of states to develop laws curtailing cellphone use and texting while driving.

Eight states and the District of Columbia have issued a jurisdiction-wide ban on driving while talking on a hand held cellphone. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have banned the use of cellphones while driving a school bus. Twenty seven states and the District of Columbia have banned the use of all cellphones by novice drivers. Twenty eight states and the District of Columbia have banned text messaging for all drivers. Nine additional states ban texting only for novice drivers.

Missouri currently bans only texting by drivers under 21 with no restrictions on cell phone use by bus drivers or other drivers.

Illinois bans cell phone use by drivers in construction and school speed zones, by drivers younger than 19, and by school bus drivers. All drivers in Illinois are restricted from texting while driving.

For more information on cellphone laws, visit the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute: http://www.iihs.org/laws/cellphonelaws.aspx

 

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