Safety & Accident

NHTSA & GHSA to Help States Effectively Enforce Texting Bans

July 30, 2009

WASHINGTON - The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) said it will support the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) enforcement demonstration project later this year showcasing how states can effectively enforce a cell phone ban, according to the GHSA.

"Highway safety laws are only effective if they can be enforced and if the public believes they will be ticketed for not complying," said Vernon Betkey, Jr., Chairman in a statement. "To date, that has not been the case with many cell phone restrictions."

The recently released results of a study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute show text messaging on a cell phone was associated with the highest risk of all cell phone-related tasks, with drivers who do so 23 times more likely to have a car accident.

While more research is being conducted to examine the effectiveness of laws and development of other countermeasures, GHSA urges:

·    Employers implement policies banning cell phone/texting use by all employees during working hours.

·    States include a category for cell phone/electronic equipment distraction on crash investigation forms. At least 29 states plus D.C. currently include this information.

·    States ban all non-emergency cell phone use/text messaging for new drivers including teen drivers. The bans for new drivers should be enforced primarily by parents as part of graduated licensing laws. Fourteen states plus D.C. currently have these laws.

·    The federal government fund a media campaign to alert the public to the dangers of distracted driving and its similarity to drunk driving.

·    The federal government continue to fund research on distracted driving, particularly the effectiveness of various countermeasures and new technological applications that would limit or eliminate distractions.

Click here to view current cell phone laws.


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