‘‘Every time I testified I would tell them Kelsey’s crash was not reported as cellphone use, and she’s just one of thousands of other crashes that are not on the books ... as being cell-phone (related),’’ said Raffaele, of Sault Ste. Marie. ‘‘I would tell them, ‘The statistics are much higher than you think they are.’ ‘‘
Raffaele eventually won the changes she sought.
State laws are a patchwork. Ten states and the District of Columbia require hands-free phones if a driver is going to make calls. No state bans all cellphone use for all drivers, but 36 states and D.C. ban all cellphone use by novice drivers. Currently, 39 states and D.C. ban text messaging for all drivers. An additional 6 states prohibit text messaging by novice drivers.
The National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates accidents, has urged states to ban all drivers from texting, emailing or chatting on a cellphone behind the wheel except in emergencies, saying the practices are simply too dangerous to be allowed.
It may not be possible to ever get complete reporting of cellphone involvement as long as reliance on driver admission is a factor, the safety council said.
Instead, the council is urging NHTSA to study whether it’s feasible to develop a way to estimate cellphone-distracted crashes. The government already makes national estimates on drunken-driving accidents where data are lacking.
The National Safety Council http://www.nsc.org
Governors Highway Safety Association http://www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/cellphone_laws.html
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