Let's Ban All Cell Phone Use in Cars

80 percent of crashes caused by driver inattention, estimates say

By Bob Sirott
|  Wednesday, May 13, 2009  |  Updated 5:15 PM CDT
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Let's Ban All Cell Phone Use in Cars

Getty Images/Blend Images

Thanks to texting, downloading and cell phone calls, it's getting crazy out there! Phones aren't the only distraction, but they're number one.

One more thing about distracted drivers.  Back when I was playing softball three times a week, there were many times I was running late leaving work and I'be be changing into baseball clothes in the car on the way to the game.

And I wasnt't the only one.

We survived that, but now thanks to texting, downloading and cell phone calls, it's getting crazy out there!  Phones aren't the only distraction, but they're number one.

Just last weekend an Illinois woman was killed, rear-ended by a driver who was painting her fingernails behind the wheel.  then there was the news about the Boston Trolley crash where the operator ran a red light while he was texting, crashing into another trolley and injuring 49 people.

A few years ago, a downstate teenager driving while downloading ringtones hit and killed a 25-year-old cyclist.

A Harvard University study estimated that six percent of vehicular crashes causing 2,600 deaths and 12,000 serious injuries a year were attributable to cell phone use.  And hands-free phones turn out to be just as risky because it's about what you're doing with your head -- not just your hands.

Estimates are that 80 percent of all crashes are caused by driver inattention within three seconds of impact.

That would include putting on makeup, ladies.

Bills currently before the Illinois State Senate would outlaw texting by motorists, and ban cell phone use by drivers in school or construction zones. 

I like what the National Safety Council is now in favor of:  a total ban on cell phone use in cars.  Period.  Including hands-free.

No city or state does that now.  Not only would that make it safer out there, but we might all get a little of that lost R&R on the road time back.

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