Edmunds' AutoObserver.com Sorts Out the 'States' of Cell Phone Driving Laws
SANTA MONICA, Calif. — March 30, 2011 — Is legislation truly effective when it comes to regulating or banning cell phone usage by car drivers? Edmunds' AutoObserver.com explores the complex and confusing answer in "Cell Phone States of Mind."
Right now 13 states have laws banning drivers' use of cell phone handsets. Eight of those states as well as 22 other states have restricted any cell phone use for novice drivers only. That leaves 15 states where there are no restrictions at all on a driver's cell phone usage. But even in the states where the practice is banned, it may not be a primary offense — meaning that officers cannot pull you over for simply gabbing away behind the wheel. Even in states where the act is classified as a primary offense, it seems that the law is seldom enforced and is not much of a deterrent.
An expanded infographic from Edmunds.com offers a detailed look at the cell phone driving laws in each state.
One proposal that has been submitted is a national standard for cell phone driving laws. But the implementation of a uniform national standard could be highly difficult or even impossible from a legal standpoint without action by Congress. But even if a national standard did exist, there's not much evidence suggesting that it will have its desired effect.
Just last year, the Governors Highway Safety Association decided not to endorse a total cell phone ban, and the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety recently found that in states that have banned texting behind the wheel, there was actually a slight increase in the frequency of insurance claims filed under collision coverage for damage to vehicles in crashes. For more on that research, please visit the Edmunds' Safety Conference library at http://www.autoobserver.com/2011-car-safety-conference/library.html#Adrian_Lund.
For more information about cell phone driving laws in your state, please read "Cell Phone States of Mind" at http://www.autoobserver.com/2011/03/cell-phone-states-of-mind.html.
A detailed infographic of relevant accident statistics — including traffic fatalities by state — can be found at http://www.autoobserver.com/2011/03/infographic-cell-phone-laws-while-driving.html.
More safety data — including a monthly analysis of safety complaints filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) — can be found in the AutoObserver.com Data Center at http://www.autoobserver.com/car-data-center/safety/
About Edmunds.com, Inc. (http://www.edmunds.com/help/about/index.html)
Edmunds.com Inc. publishes Web sites that empower, engage and educate automotive consumers, enthusiasts and insiders. Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information, launched in 1995 as the first automotive information Web site and hosts the most established automotive community online. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at www.edmunds.com, makes car pricing and other research tools available for car shoppers at dealerships and otherwise on the go. InsideLine.com is the most-read automotive enthusiast Web site. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at www.insideline.com, features the wireless Web's highest quality car photos and videos. AutoObserver.com provides insightful automotive industry commentary and analysis. Edmunds.com Inc. is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and maintains a satellite office in suburban Detroit. Follow Edmunds.com on Twitter@edmunds and fan Edmunds.com on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/edmunds.