Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Chapel, NC Bans Phone Use While Driving

Source: National Transportation
Safety Board

Chapel Hill, NC has enacted a new ban on driving and cell phone use. Starting June 1, drivers can be ticketed for operating a vehicle and using a cell phone in the college town. The ban includes hands-free devices like Blue Tooth headsets and speakerphones. Fueling the legislation, according to a FoxNews.com article, is the view that "a large number of pedestrians and bicyclists navigating sidewalks and streets among drivers who tend to multitask is a dangerous mix."

One town council member also said, "The distraction is not holding the phone. The distraction is actually the conversation." The National Transportation Safety Board supports the new law, and the town of Evanston, Illinois may be the next municipality to follow suit.

Also in North Carolina, state Highway Patrol officers have been giving teenagers lessons on the perils of distracted driving, according to the Charlotte Observer. The hands-on experience includes a golf cart, a cell phone and an obstacle course.

The newspaper sourced a 2009 study that said:
One in three 16 and 17-year-olds who text on their phones said they had done so while driving. Meanwhile, about 48 percent of 12 to 17-year-olds say they have been in a car while the driver was texting, according to the study from the Pew Internet and American Life Project.
The article also stated: "Federal studies also show teens are more likely than people of other ages to be in a fatal crash where a driver is distracted."

It may take some bold new laws like the one in Chapel Hill, and safety courses like the one in Charlotte, to help save lives. Time will tell if these actions will decrease car crashes due to distracted driving. We'll all be watching.

A mildly interesting, and ironic, side note: I wrote this post at my local Starbucks yesterday. As I drove home, I almost got side-swiped by a driver using a phone!

Rmorhere: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/04/13/3171499/distracted-driving-lesson-scares.html#storylink=misearch#storylink=cpy

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