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June 22, 2009

Death By Cell Phone: Risky Driving Habit Needs a Ban

Asian cell phone car We can not emphasize this enough: cell phone use while driving is dangerous. So dangerous, it has already been banned in more than 50 countries; punishable by fines and even jail time. In the Norway, fines are over $600 per infraction and in the Netherlands, fines are up to €2,000 or two weeks in jail. However, only six U.S. states have placed a total ban on cell phone use.

That's why the National Safety Council became the first organization to call for a nationwide ban on all forms of cell phone use while driving. Two "Death By Cell Phone" victims are featured on the NSC's new billboards, and their stories are shared online by ban advocates who make impassioned pleas for Americans to put down their cell phones while driving. Both believe the drivers of the cars that killed their loved ones were unaware of the cognitive distraction caused by talking on a cell phone or texting while driving.

According to one estimate, cell phone use is a factor in 6 percent of all crashes, which equates to 636,000 crashes, 330,000 injuries, 12,000 serious injuries and 2,600 deaths each year. Cell phone-using drivers are four times more likely to be involved in personal injury crashes than other drivers, and most crashes are caused by driver inattention, with cell phone use being the number one distraction. According to a 2008 poll by Nationwide Insurance, roughly eight in ten (81%) cell phone owners report that they talk on their cell phone while driving. One day, we'll all look back at cell phone use while driving in disparage.

To read more about driving distractions from RTM, check out the Safety & Security Section.


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