Laws Concerning Mobile Phones and Driving


Do you use a cell phone while driving, for business or personal reasons? Are you aware of the most recent laws that may affect you while doing so?

Cell phone usage while driving a vehicle is a hot-button issue which has caused a lot of heated discussion and led to recent legislation in state houses all over the country. During the past several years, many changes in laws have taken place, and this trend is expected to increase. Distracted drivers who are talking or sending text messages on a cell phone have been found to be four times more likely to get into an accident than other drivers, causing widespread concern and action to control this serious problem.

Sadly, teenagers are the most likely accident victims. They are three times as likely to be involved in a fatal accident than any other age group, yet 56% of teens admit to using a cell phone while driving, and 48% of teen passengers state that they have been riding in a car with a driver who is texting on a phone. In the age group ranging from 16 to 20 years old, car wrecks remain the number one cause of death.

Newly available statistics involving the severity of the accident risk concerning cell phones are becoming more public, and the news is alarming. What has been revealed is that talking on the phone and sending text messages while driving are extremely risky activities as they cause a great deal of driver distraction. Driver inattention has been identified as the leading cause of car accidents.

Currently, there is a jurisdiction-wide ban on driving while talking on a hand-held cell phone in nine states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Utah, and Washington) as well as in the District of Columbia. There is a ban on text messaging for all drivers in thirty U.S. states, the District of Columbia and Guam, and eleven of these laws were enacted in 2010. New legislation is being put into place constantly, so it’s best to check with your own state of residence to be sure of upcoming changes in the law that could affect you.

So what’s the best way of obeying the law, staying safe and still being able to communicate? If you would like to keep the option of talking on your cell phone while driving, consider using “hands-free” devices such as headsets as one way to steer clear of breaking the law. These can fit snugly into the ear canal, be worn as earphones or as a “boom” headset, with an attached microphone, which can provide more clarify. Other possibilities are headsets that use Bluetooth technology. These are wireless, but do need either a battery or recharging and may require an adapter as well. You can also purchase products which enable you to plug your cell phone into a jack, which in turn coordinates with your car radio to create a speaker phone. Prices for these devices vary, but you can go hands-free for relatively little money if you shop around check out all the products available.

Whether you decide to eliminate talking or texting on a cell phone altogether while you are driving, or compromise by using a hands-free method, you will decrease your chances of getting into an accident, and avoid the tickets and fines involved when you are pulled over by the police. Fines usually start at under a hundred dollars for the first offense, but if you are repeatedly cited for this violation, can get steep very fast, and court fees and legal expenses add up quickly. Since ignorance of the law is no excuse, make sure you are ready for any pending legislation that is being passed in your state.

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