Published on:

Do Hands-Free Cellphone Laws Really Help?

As of 2018, a whopping 77 percent of the American population possessed a smartphone. A driver that is distracted because of cellphone use can produce devastating results because rather than focusing on the road, they are involved in tasks such as reading and answering emails and texts, engaging in social media and other highly distracting activities that can seriously impede a motorist’s concentration at the wheel.

Lawmakers in Georgia recently passed the Hands-Free Law which prohibits drivers from using a handheld cell phone, with very few exceptions.  This is good news for drivers in the Atlanta area as research shows that motorists in states that have a ban on the use of hand-held cell phones are less likely to use a cell phone or smart phone while driving.  This helps to reduce the risks of accidents on the roads keeping everyone safer.  There is a growing trend across the nation to ban cellphone use while driving.  Georgia was the 16th state to impose a ban on hand-held cell phones for motorists.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in its latest safety report focuses on distracted driving, especially cell phone use and its effect on driving safety. The researchers found that motorists in states that ban cellphone use, like Georgia, were less likely to be at risk of an accident caused by their cellphone use.

The researchers analyzed 800 motorists who used smartphones while driving.  While the numbers for texting while driving seem to decrease, many drivers are still talking on their phones while driving.  The researchers found that 80 percent reported talking on the cell phone while driving, while 30 percent admitted to texting while driving. Most drivers who reported talking on the phone, however, mentioned that they used voice-activated systems to have conversations while driving and not hand–held cell phones.  Among the users who used hand held devices to have conversations while driving, 31 percent were from states that have no ban on hand-held cell phones, while 14 percent were from states like Georgia which do ban the use of hand-held devices at the wheel.

However, IIHS researchers found that use of the Apple iPhone’s Do-Not-Disturb blocker function was modest at best, indicating that many users continue to have a problem with self-regulating their behavior.

It’s bad enough that drivers continue to use hand-held cell phones and text while driving in spite of laws that bans the practice, despite the overwhelming evidence that shows that such behaviors significantly increase the risk of an accident. What’s worse is that middle-aged drivers between the ages of 30 and 59 – who really should know better – were most likely to exhibit such dangerous behaviors.  Even more surprising, many of these drivers even used their cellphone while they were transporting their children.  While it may be impossible to completely prevent people from using their cellphones while driving, laws and campaigns educating people of the devastating impact distracted driving can have for all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians on the roads will need to continue until these accident statistics are brought to a minimum.