A new study finds the use of any cell phone, hands-free or bluetooth, can be distracting enough to cause a car crash. According to PCmag.com, the Governors Highway Safety Association combined a decade's worth of findings about the causes of car accidents. Shockingly, distractions caused by cell phones accounted for between 15 and 25 percent of all accidents. The GHSA recommends a ban on cell phone use completely, particularly for novice drivers.
Anyone considered a high risk on the road is defined as a novice driver, though the traditional definition refers to a new driver with a learner's permit. A ban on cell phone use in novice drivers has already been enacted in 30 states, but experts can't say whether the ban has actually prevented any car accidents. Despite a ban on handheld cell phones in states like Washington, DC, California and New York, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found no reduction in car crash.
As Virginia personal injury lawyers, we've seen the havoc distracted driving can wreak. Cell phones in particular account for more and more tragedy each year. With the popularity of texting growing, more and more drivers have their eyes on their phones and not on the road. Though Virginia and North Carolina are among the 19 states that outlaw texting while driving, this new study shows how even hands free cell phone use can distract drivers.
Though we can only hope that legislators will take this new study into consideration when drafting new safety laws, it's up to us as drivers to give the road our full attention. The next time you're in the car and need to use your cell phone, consider pulling over to take the call. It could save your life.