As Georgia personal injury lawyers, we have been waiting for our state to set an example in terms of stronger cell phone-and-driving laws. While neither Georgia nor any other state has stepped up to the task, the National Transportation Safety Board has moved to issue a ban on its employees using cell phones while driving.
Under the ban, NTSB employees will be forbidden from using handheld or hands-free cell phones while driving. With this, the NTSB becomes the first federal agency to have a complete ban on employees using cell phones behind the wheel. According to the NTSB chairwoman Debbie Hersman, there’s enough evidence that cell phone use while driving significantly increases the risk of auto accidents.
However across the country, laws banning cell phone use while driving, have been meager at best. Seven states and the District of Columbia ban only handheld cell phone use for motorists. In Georgia, school bus drivers are banned from using cell phones, but that’s about it. Our state’s cell phone laws are skeletal, but across the country, many of those states that have bans on handheld devices have seen mixed results from their laws. This has mainly been because in these states, the ban comes as a secondary enforcement, which makes the law harder to enforce.
There has been enough evidence to prove that any kind of cell phone use behind the wheel increases the risk of an auto accident. However, no state has enacted a complete ban on all kinds of cell phone use while driving. The ban by the NTSB is unique because it doesn’t differentiate between distractions arising from hands-free devices, and those related to handheld cell phone use
In a cell phone addicted society like ours, it will take strong legislative will and muscle to implement a complete ban on cell phone use while driving. Any such law may not only be highly unpopular, but may also prove to be a nightmare to enforce. Even so, as Georgia personal injury lawyers, we believe that any efforts towards implementing a complete ban on cell phone use behind the wheel will reap rich dividends in lives saved and injuries prevented, and that’s reason enough to try.