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UNC researchers: Ban cell phones while driving

Posted May 10, 2010

—  Lawmakers banned texting while driving last year. Now, researchers say it might be time to ban all cell phone use behind the wheel.

 Arthur Goodwin, a senior research associate for the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center, recently briefed state lawmakers about the dangers of talking while driving.

"The research shows that if you're talking on a cell phone while driving, you're four times more likely to be in a crash," Goodwin said Monday, adding that is the same risk of being in a crash if a person were drunk.

Cellphone use while driving Ban cell phones while driving?

The research also shows that using a hands-free cell phone is just as dangerous as using a hand-held phone

"It's not holding a phone that makes it dangerous," Goodwin said. "It's that you're splitting your attention."

It's still unclear if the matter would be taken up in the Legislature, but it would likely not happen in the upcoming short session, said Sen. Neal Hunt, R-Wake, who sits on the Senate Transportation Committee.

State law already bans drivers from text messaging or sending e-mails with their cell phones. Under the law, drivers have to either pull over or wait until they have stopped their vehicle before texting or sending an e-mail. Violators face a $100 fine, plus court costs.

California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia ban talking on a hand-held device for all drivers, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.

In all of those territories except Washington state, police can pull over and ticket a driver for cell phone use.

81 Comments

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  • ludcane May 12, 9:49 a.m.

    Hay this guy was YELLING in the grocery store the other day. I wondered what the hell? MY BAD!! He had an ear piece in his ear hooked to a cell phone. Sorry, thought he was talking to ... EVERYBODY!! I went to the next isle and couldn't get threw cause somebody had to call to see what they wanted from the store????????? IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ISLE!!

  • ludcane May 12, 9:40 a.m.

    When cell phones first came out they should have banned them from driving, ALL these people now run their lives and OUR lives from cell phones. Their office is now in the car. Wonder why traffic is so slow? CELL PHONES!! These people are running our lives. And I bet the Phone companies pay to keep them going. What would these people do without a cell phone. We had better keep them going cause these people would DIE without their cell phones. STOP RUNNING EVERYONE LIVES!

  • signothefish May 11, 3:46 p.m.

    First the texting ban while driving. That made the roads more dangerous because now people text with their phones on their laps where nobody else can see them. Since they're looking down so much, the potential for accidents greatly increases. It's cutting off your nose to spite your face.

    You watch, if cell phones are banned, people are going to find a way to still talk without having it in plain view, maybe through speakerphone (since hands-free devices are still rarely used). That will keep their eyes down more while using the phone, hence increasing the chances of an accident.

  • Mugu May 11, 2:14 p.m.

    I see too many suburban housewives in their honking SUVs yapping on their phones while driving dangerously. Please make it stop!

  • GlobalHoax May 11, 1:03 p.m.

    Four times more likely still ain't very likely. How many more times likely is it that a teen will get in an accident? Should we ban teen driving?

  • TimeWillTell May 11, 12:58 p.m.

    "1. Studies show smoking causes cancer.
    2. Studies show cell phone use while driving causes accidents."

    I think Speedy just hit the solution: taxes.

    Look at the taxes on cigarettes. People insist on killing themselves with tobacco while paying for the privilege. So why not add a tax to calls made while the phone is moving more than, say, 5mph?

    Government gets a windfall and carriers get a cut. Presto! People who INSIST on driving and yakking pay for the privilege, and the government nannies will shut up when the dollars start rolling in.

    For the record: I detest the idea of a ban on cell phones in cars. I don't believe a ban will accomplish anything. So, like cigarettes and booze, if society demands them regardless of the problems they cause, then they're perfect targets for taxation!

  • nighttrain2010 May 11, 12:41 p.m.

    Well we need to ban eating, drinking (non-alcoholic), changing the radio station, talking to passengers, looking to either side (i.e. view of a landscape), and anything else one can do in a vehicle.

    I got it, why doesn't the government make steering wheels that require two hands to stay in motion? Better yet, we should have to handcuff ourselves to the steering wheels...nope scratch that. Where would our state get money if everybody did what they were told? This is less to do with 'safety' and more to do with collecting more money for politicians to spend. Dern it, sorry...silly me seeing only economic gain for the state instead of the naive belief too many have that such a law would be passed because politicians 'care' for us....

  • theartistformerlyknownasspeedy May 11, 11:54 a.m.

    1. Studies show smoking causes cancer.

    2. Studies show cell phone use while driving causes accidents.

    Some people still refuse to believe #1 also.

  • deton8tor May 11, 11:41 a.m.

    if the speed limit is 65 on a highway then it is 65 in both lanes. if you read the signs it says slower traffic keep right. That means any traffic traveling slower than the posted speed limit should stay to the right hand lane. It doesn't mean drive the speed limit in the right lane and what ever you want to in the left lane.

  • gordonbabe May 11, 11:32 a.m.

    Throw a rock into a pack of wild dogs and the only one that hollers is the one you hit.

    Ban the phone use. People will still use them. I'll still pull over if it's absolutely necessary that I make a call and I'll ignore one that comes in unexpectedly.

    Next issue will be to make people responsible for the wrecks they cause due to their use of cell phones... it won't happen.

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