One thing I always ask people to remember when we talk about cell phone statistics is that we are talking about a relatively new technology. I remember as a child my parents having phones in the car. I don't know why they did because we were certainly not rich. The phone was a rotary dial phone inside the car with a 2 by 2 square metal box in the trunk of the car and a big antennae outside the car. The best part of the good old days was that the FCC listened in to each conversation so when my parents cursed at me for not getting a chore done the operator came of the phone and reprimanded by parents – that was really fun. Can you imagine how busy the FCC would be today if that was still the case? We know that regulation will result in fewer injuries and deaths because with regulation fewer people engage in the dangerous practice of using a cell phone and driving.
Congratulations to the folks at the University of California-Berkeley whose first study of this kind concerning the effects of banning cell phone use and driving indicate overall accidents are down 22 percent. Also, the study concludes that collisions related to cell phone use have almost been cut in half at 47% reduction.
The California-Berkeley study further suggests that more time is needed for bans on cell phone use to have true statistical meaning. Time is the key here. We have decades of statistics without cell phone use and we should have more than a year or two to determine the effects of bans on cell phone use and driving.
My personal opinion is that fines need to be steeper to have an immediate impact. Charging less than a speeding ticket and not counting a texting and driving ticket as a moving safety violation are not significant enough penalties. Do you know what you are charged for shooting a deer out of season? Fine anywhere from $2000 to $10,000 depending upon what you shot and law enforcement will seize your weapon and perhaps anything else in your possession. Drive a 4000 pound missile and text, sub $200.00 fine – not enough.
Drive Safe – X THA TXT
Jeff Weinstein, Dallas injury lawyer