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Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie, Inc.

Cell phone studies miss the mark.


Posted on Feb 04, 2010

In a new study conducted by the Highway Loss Data Institute, a branch of the Insurance Institute, they conducted a review of accidents caused by cell phone use before and after the California ban on such use without a hands-free device. In the study, they found no appreciable change in the accident rate caused by cell phone use.

Unfortunately, the conclusion that they are now proposing, completely misses the mark. Adrian Lunn, president of the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety and its affiliate, the Data Institute, was quoted in the Los Angeles Times Saturday, January 30th, 2010. In his quote, he stated “We've all assumed because we could measure it pretty well that maybe cell phone use was a bigger distracter than other things, and I think this data shows us that no, it's not.” 
 
Mr. Lunn misses the point completely. Cell phone use causes approximately 7%, or 7 out of every 100 accidents. The passage of a ban on cell phone use does not take away the use of the cell phone from those that are addicted to it. 
 
We learned from drunk driving laws that it takes years for users to change their habits. The stiffer the penalty, the more change likely to occur. Passing a ban on cell phone use without a hands-free device alone is not a sufficient incentive for a lot of drivers to remove the distraction. 
 
There is no question that cell phone use during the operation of a vehicle is dangerous and causes great tragedy, as I've written about in past articles. In one such case, the killing of a cyclist was senseless and needless because of a person using a cell phone. Instead, the law is now in place to prosecute these individuals. And as prosecution moves forward, more and more people will realize that it just simply isn't "worth it" to use your cell phone without hands-free devices. 
 
Additionally, what the study did not compare was cell phone use compared to data transmission use. How many of the 7 accidents out of 100 were related to texting and use of Google while a person was driving? Distracted drivers create a great deal of harm for those around them. And eventually, a great deal of harm for themselves as they are prosecuted.  They may even be civilly liable to the person or their family for the serious injury or death that they caused. 

Restriction on cell phone use is a positive step toward making our highways safer for our families.  If you need an Orange County attorney, call us at 1 888 752-7474 or contact us through our web site.

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