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Study: Motorists Ignore Bans On Cell Phone Use While Driving

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – A recent study shows that bans on texting and hand-held cell phone use while driving don’t reduce the risk of crashes, because many people just ignore the law.

That surprising detail came out of a hearing held by state lawmakers who are wading into the issue of distracted driving once again.

teigan Study: Motorists Ignore Bans On Cell Phone Use While Driving

Anne Teigan (credit: KYW's Tony Romeo)

The state House Transportation Committee held a hearing on a bill sponsored by Chester County Republican Chris Ross, whose measure would make not just cell phone use, but a whole host of distracted driving behaviors a secondary offense under Pennsylvania law.

Ross cautioned that changing the law will be ineffective unless it’s accompanied by a media campaign to change behavior.

“This bill is hook to attach the rest of the work that needs to be done.”

Corroborating that notion was Anne Teigan of the National Conference of State Legislatures, who cited a 2010 study by the Insurance Institute showing that bans on texting and hand-held cell phones do not reduce crash risk.

“It shocked us all, you know, we were thinking that these laws were, in fact working… the amount of tickets that states were issuing, things like that.”

Teigan says the study concludes the likely reason why bans don’t work is that people simply ignore the law.

Reported by Tony Romeo, KYW Newsradio

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  • sammysamples

    This is obviously not a law that the general consensus wanted passed. It was just made up to give the city more revenue. This law should be repealed. As the article says, nobody pays attention to it, nor do they want it. Laws are supposed to be made to reflect what the majority of society wants.

  • ljs

    No excuse for not obeying the law. On a daily basis I see lots of “almost accidents” due to people on their phone. Common sense is lost these days and people pretty much do what they want.

  • anon513

    @ WATCHER April 21, 2011 at 5:48pm: I didn’t say they were talking on their ‘cell phones’, I said they need to talk to the Medical Facilities Staff on their ‘devices’, which is usually their radios that they are using for their jobs. But, it really doesn’t matter, a talking device is a talking device is a talking device. Whether it’s a radio on a dash board, a hand held radio that is attached to the inside roof of the vehicle usually between the driver’s seat and the passenger seat, or one that’s attached to the uniform shoulder. They still need to communicate with Medical Staff while ‘enroute’ to the Medical Facility all during the ride to keep the Medical Facility Staff informed of the patient’s condition and take whatever instructions the on duty Doctor has to give them. So, yes, they DO need to use them.

  • George

    So far all the local articles I’ve read of pedestrians being clobbered by a car or other major accidents have had nothing to do with a cell phone…

    Oh yeah there was the one about that mayor or governor or something in New Jersey!!! That’s right…last year…

    Guess the next thing is to tell us we aren’t allowed to look at GPS’s while we’re driving….

  • Vince Bottone

    what is the difference between talking on your cellphone and talking to someone in the back seat??? nothing both are easy to do…seems like along with taking away medicare social security and food stamps for poor the republicans also want to take away your freedom of driving in the car with anyone and with the radio on because they would classify those as a distraction..

    • SV

      Republicans??? really? Why not look at your big-government loving liberal politicians first, wanting to bring in more ticket revenue…

      • Because of the specific situation we are talking about, SV.

        Well because, SV, it would make the most sense to look at who is actually proposing the bill, rather than looking at some random politicians. The article says the bill happens to be sponsored by a Republican. That said, this is not a Republican or Democratic issue. I don’t think either party has a plank in their platform about it.

      • Vince Bottone

        iif talking on the cellphone distracts you while driving then just dont do it….most people seem to be able o do it..everyone i know does it and nbever got into an accident…texting is a different story

  • elisa

    Police should enforce it a heck of alot more! fines need to be higher, If it was enforced more the morons would stop hopefully or if they dont tow car

  • anon513

    Also, when they are rushing someone to the hospital, both Police and EMTs call the hospital ahead to let them know that they are bringing in a gunshot, stabbing, seizure, whatever they are rushing their way. So, yeah, they NEED to talk on their devices enroute to the Medical facility. Corresponding with Medical Personnel along the way, keeping them updated as to the Patient’s condition, as well as their observations.

  • toasterhead

    Here is something that should get you all mad…

    Read the law again. Police officers are allowed to drive at 90MPH while texting & talking on the phone.

    Clearly, they are way better at it then the rest of us…

    • MJ

      They are.
      It’s because they need information en route to emergency calls

      • WATCHER

        HEADS UP

  • Joe P

    News flash, people don’t obey the speed limit either. So should they all get DUI level penalties for that? What about having the radio on, that’s a distraction, isn’t it? Send them to prison for that, just like DUI?

  • Mary Wrigley

    WHY DON’T PEOPLE GET THIS CONCEPT????? You are driving a car and you should not be doing anything else.

    Suspend their license or hit ’em with a fine. That should work.

    • SV

      So Mary you’ve never sipped a coffee or soda in your car? Never turned on the radio? Never leaned over to turn on the a/c or the heat? Never grabbed a chap stick out of your purse?

      Wow you’re good!

  • JustMe

    Stephanie Patterson took the words right out of my mouth. I totally agree on all points.

  • Stephanie Patterson

    No law is worth the paper on which it is printed unless it is ENFORCED! Police: PULL OVER ANYONE driving while using a hand-held device. Write an immediate ticket. Traffic Court: IMPOSE A STIFF FINE AND REPORT THIS AS A MOVING VIOLATION, ALONG WITH POINTS! You need extra money in the treasury? Well, get the law enforcement people on the street to nab those irresponsible idiots who insist on using hand-held devices while driving.

    • Joe P

      Have you never went 1 mph over the speed limit? Or ever made a turn without your turn signal?

      No law is worth the paper on which it is printed unless it is ENFORCED! Police: PULL OVER ANYONE driving 1mph over the speed limit. Write an immediate ticket. Traffic Court: IMPOSE A STIFF FINE AND REPORT THIS AS A MOVING VIOLATION, ALONG WITH POINTS! You need extra money in the treasury? Well, get the law enforcement people on the street to nab those irresponsible idiots who insist on going over the speed limit.

    • Terry

      Yes because God knows that cell phone users are a big crime problem facing our city.

  • Anonymous

    Correction: that should say “what the LAW says”, not what the ‘saw’ says. Please forgive my ‘human’ error. Thank you.

  • hank10

    1) The law needs to be vigorously enforced. Drivers should be cited on-the-spot without any warnings being issued.

    2) The law needs to be amended in such a way that the driver’s insurance rates go up if they cause an accident while cell-phoning/texting.

  • Anonymous

    Let’s face it. People will NEVER do what they should do. People will NEVER follow the rules and laws. Not even when one of their own family loved ones have been injured or killed by someone doing what the saw says they should not be doing. And even then, they only perk up long enough to get over it and start doing it themselves …. again…. until the next loved one is injured or killed. It’s a vicious cycle that will never be broken.

    • No.

      You can’t text and drive. It’s alarming to me that people are defending this practice.

      Talking is one thing, but TEXTING? You can’t text and drive. If you think you can, please don’t try to defend yourself, just be properly ashamed and keep quiet. You know you are wrong. You know you cannot text and drive.

  • CFranky

    There are many people ignoring this ban but I’m sure there are many more who are working hard to keep there phones out of view forcing them to look down more while driving. I bet that the number of people actually holding their phones up to their ears has decreased significantly but the amount of people looking down toward their laps and/or texting has increased significantly since the ban. This is going to get worse and worse.

  • Terry

    Philadelphia had no right to even pass a law in the first place. It’s uo to the state to amend the Motor Vehicle Code. I’m not sure if passing a state law would do any good. Everyone is guilty of doing something that distracts them from driving. The police constantly are guilty of it. This boils down to the government continuously trying to save us from ourselves. The Nanny State continues….

  • Greg

    I remember back in the 1980s you where not aloud to have the sanyo walkman to your ear (old tape cassette) or even have things hung from your mirror in the car and a police officer would pull you over. It is so bad today people do what they want and nothing happens.

  • Fed Up Entirely

    The biggest crock in all of this is how many Police Officers are on the phone in their cars while on duty. Once again, Philly & Jersey Cops try to enforce a law they themselves refuse to obey.

    Now we have these budget cut-backs and “Save Our Police” banners all over. Forget it, I say cut these Police forces by 50%, why do we need cell phone stings? Why do we need crosswalk stings? It’s ridiculous.

  • Edwin

    make the penalty the same as DUI.

    It has already been proven to be more dangerous than drunk driving.

    • Bill

      THAT penalty doesn’t mean sh—, because if it DID, anyone who had ONE would be in jail until the Second Coming, NOT having multiple DUI arrests and getting PROBATION.

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