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SATETY GROUP CALLS FOR NATIONWIDE CELL PHONE BAN WHILE DRIVING

The National Safety Council is calling for a ban on all kinds of cell phone usage behind the wheel to prevent traffic accidents, but Georgia’s state authorities still don’t seem to have received the message that driving and cell phone use just don’t go well together.

Cell phone use while driving is rampant and clear to see on Atlanta’s streets, where only school bus drivers are banned from using cell phone devices while driving.Now, the National Safety Council has called for a nationwide ban on all cell phone usage behind the wheel, including hand held and hands free devices, to prevent the growing number of accidents that can be traced to drivers distracted using their cell phones.Currently, no state completely bans cell phone usage while driving, but California, New Jersey, New York, Washington, Connecticut and Utah enforce a ban on hand held cell phone usage. National Safety Council president Janet Froetscher isn’t impressed with such measures – she says that the issue isn’t whether your hands are free to drive, but that your head is engaged in the conversation you’re having on the cell pone. That is what causes accidents, and not the actual act of holding the phone.

Georgia lags behind most states in the kind of cell phone driving legislation it has in place.Representative Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City) is currently working on plans for legislation that will ban cell phone use for drivers under the age of 18.According to Rep Ramsey, the under-18 age group is the most vulnerable because they are still learning the ropes of correct behavior behind the wheel, and also because distractions are a major cause for accidents involving teens. Violators would receive a first time fine of $175 and a $500 fine for additional offenses.

It could be a step in the right direction, although it’s clear to see that it’s not just teen drivers who are guilty of cell phone use behind the wheel.As Atlanta car accident lawyers who often see the devastating results of crashes caused because a motorist was busy on a cell phone, we believe that any legislationthat is aimed at preventing automobile crashes must go all the way, and include adult drivers within its scope.It will be a daring move, and is certain to face stiff resistance from a cell phone addicted public, but the payoffs in terms of reduced accidents, injuries and deaths on Georgia’s streets will be worth the effort.