In Hartford, New Britain, Norwich, Manchester, New Haven and the Waterbury-area, drivers are not allowed to use handheld cell phones to make calls while driving. Motorists are also prohibited from texting. Public Act No. 05-159 imposed the prohibition on phone use in order to protect motorists from distracted driving.
A personal injury lawyer knows that cell phones and texting present significant risks to motorists. Aside from the danger of taking the hands off the wheel and the eyes off the road, communicating via phone in any way also results in cognitive distraction. Your brain cannot effectively focus both on the phone communication and on what is going on around you. This leads to delayed reaction times, inattention blindness, and impaired judgment that significantly increases the chance of a crash.
Laws prohibiting cell phones and texting are supposed to help reduce the chances that motorists will engage in these high risk behaviors. Of course, not all motorists listen. While young people often get a bad reputation for texting while driving, a recent article published by CBS suggests that the worst offenders in relation to cell phone use are people aged 25 to 40.
Do Cell Phone Bans Actually Help Reduce Collision Risks?
Because so many people violated cell phone bans and use their phones anyway, there are questions about how effective laws are prohibiting texting and phone use. Prohibitions on phone use and on sending or receiving texts can also be challenging to enforce since police don't always see people texting and can't always prove that someone was actually texting and not just looking down at their lap.
The good news is, a recent study suggests that texting bans are making a difference. CBS reported on the study, in which researchers assessed the impact of texting bans that were passed between 2003 and 2010. All states in the United States have now passed at least some limits or restrictions on texting, although texting is not universally banned everywhere.
The researchers found that there was around a seven percent decline in the rates of hospitalization caused by car accidents in situations where a texting ban had gone into effect. The biggest decline in traffic accident hospitalizations was among drivers over 22, while drivers under 22 saw no statistically-significant reduction in hospitalization rates.
The biggest decline in hospitalizations also happened in states where cell phone laws are primary enforcement laws. This means that a motorist can be ticketed for texting or violating other rules on phone use even if police did not first pull the motorist over for something else. In states where the texting violation is only a secondary offense and motorists can be ticketed only if they broke some other traffic law, there was still a decline in hospitalization but just not as noticeable.
Researchers couldn't determine for sure if texting bans were the cause of the decline, but they did account for other factors that could have provided these results before concluding that texting could play a role in improving safety and bringing hospitalization rates down.
Contact a Hartford accident attorney today at the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli. Call 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 for your free case consultation or visit http://www.salomoneandmorelli.com. Also serving New Britain and Norwich to Manchester, New Haven and the Waterbury-area.