SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- Is legislation truly effective when it comes to regulating or banning cell phone usage by car drivers?
Edmunds' AutoObserver.com explores the complex and confusing answer in "Cell Phone States of Mind."
Right now 13 states have laws banning drivers' use of cell phone handsets. Eight of those states as well as 22 other states have restricted any cell phone use for novice drivers only. That leaves 15 states where there are no restrictions at all on a driver's cell phone usage. But even in the states where the practice is banned, it may not be a primary offense - meaning that officers cannot pull you over for simply gabbing away behind the wheel. Even in states where the act is classified as a primary offense, it seems that the law is seldom enforced and is not much of a deterrent.
One proposal that has been submitted is a national standard for cell phone driving laws. But the implementation of a uniform national standard could be highly difficult or even impossible from a legal standpoint without action by Congress. But even if a national standard did exist, there's not much evidence suggesting that it will have its desired effect.
Last year the Governors Highway Safety Association decided not to endorse a total cell phone ban, and the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety recently found that in states that have banned texting behind the wheel, there was actually a slight increase in the frequency of insurance claims filed under collision coverage for damage to vehicles in crashes. For more on that research, visit the Edmunds' Safety Conference library at http://www.autoobserver.com/2011-car-safety-conference/library.htmlAdria....