Laws against driving and cellphone use aren't working, study finds

Author: Ronald White
Coverage Type: reporting
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Ave, SE, Washington, DC, 20590, United States

It seems like an epidemic: Drivers talking and texting. Now federal regulators have put a number to the dangerous habit. At any given time, about 660,000 drivers are texting, tweeting, talking or otherwise preoccupied with their cellphones while speeding along the freeways or crawling through downtowns and suburban neighborhoods. That's more people than live in Baltimore.

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect about the poll, which surveyed 6,000 people age 16 and older, was that laws meant to curb cellphone use don't seem to be working. California and 38 other states have tried to prohibit the practice, but there is little evidence that distracted driving has decreased since 2010, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration survey from that year. That indicates that getting drivers' attention about the dangers of distraction may be more difficult than, for instance, getting them to wear seatbelts, said Jeff Larson, president of Safe Roads Alliance in Boston.



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