Cell Phone: Useful Gadget or Element of Destruction?

Some states have them, some states don't. I'm talking about laws regarding cell phones and driving. According to the Governor's Highway Safety Association, "5 states (California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Washington), the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands prohibit all drivers from talking on handheld cell phones while driving." And "8 states (Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey and Washington) and the District of Columbia have a text messaging ban for all drivers."

Using a hand-held cell phone requires, obviously, taking one hand off the wheel. That and the added distraction of using something that requires you to devote a minimum of attention away from the traffic and operation of a vehicle makes for hazardous actions. The number of deaths caused by accidents involving a driver using a cell phone alone should be enough to have every state enforcing a cell phone usage ban for all drivers.

Yet, taking my home state of Texas as an example, some states only have minor restrictions. For instance a cell-phone usage ban in Texas is only on school bus drivers, and novice drivers, although how they determine they are novice drivers in order to pull them over is anybody's guess.

There are even some states who have no restrictions at all, and don't even collect crash data about cell phone usage in accidents, according to the GHSA website. The guilty parties are Alabama, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Carolina and Wisconsin.

There should be a law in all states, completely banning the use of hand-held cell phones, regardless of the time of day, traffic or weather conditions, or any other mitigating factors. According to my research before writing this, several states do have bills on the docket for their legislature to consider this. I encourage them all to pass them. The lives we could save from it would be more than worth the inconvenience caused to those who commit this distraction.

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