California Cell Phone Ban Significantly Reduces Traffic Accidents, Deaths

By Jacob Brown | March 06, 2012
Driving in Los Angeles, it becomes painfully obvious that people shouldn't have ever had cell phones to their ears while operating a vehicle. You go. You stop. You get up to 60 mph. You brake hard back down to a 10 mph crawl. And you do this all while navigating the densest driving city in the nation. A 2008 ban on hand-held cell phone devices in Los Angeles, as well as other congested areas in California, made sense. And now there's scientific evidence to substantiate that. According to a study released by the California Office of Traffic Safety, traffic deaths have decreased by 22 percent in the last three years. When directly accounting for cell phone distractions, OTS claims the number of fatalities has decreased 47 percent. "California is one of the few states that has been very aggressively enforcing its cellphone law," says Barbara Harsha, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association in an interview with the Boston Herald. "That's a big drop. We were surprised by the numbers. It shows that enforcement works, that other states should look at what California has done and follow its lead." In 2009, California Highway Police said there were 75,000 to 80,000 fewer collisions and 700 fewer fatal accidents. However, the study found that number to be significantly less when all of the numbers were crunched: 70 to 80 lives saved and about 5,000 fewer injuries recorded in the first two years. In either case, that accounts for a good number of people being protected from themselves because of a sheer lack of self-restraint. State Senator Joe Simitan (D-Palo Alto) championed this bill routinely, getting shot down like a nerd asking members of his school's cheerleading squad to prom, until he finally got the legislature to approve it in 2006. "The driving public understands that this is a risky behavior, and mostly people are complying," he says. "I think we've had very good results the first couple of years, but we're talking about changing a culture." No, Mr. Simitan, the public understands their days being slowed down at the side of the road and money being taken from its wallets by way of tickets. Time is money. Driving to spite the hand-held cell phone ban doesn't make sense. Source: Boston Herald