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Cell phone ban in California decreases distracted driving deaths


A new report by the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) shows that there has been a reduction in car accident deaths due to hand-held cell phone use since the ban of cell phone activity while in the car was established in July 2008.

The data was analyzed by the Safe Transportation Research and Education Center at the University of California. The findings showed that all state crash records from two years before the ban compared with two years after indicated an overall 22 percent decrease of traffic deaths along with a 47 percent decrease of hand-held cell phone drive deaths specifically.

Officials believe it wasn’t just the ban that caused this extreme reduction, but the fact that law enforcement cracked down on anyone who violated it – including teens, who are considered to be at a bigger risk due to their inexperience in driving.

“Highly visible and publicized enforcement, along with the cooperation of the motoring public to reduce distractions behind the wheel, has played a significant role in the reduction in collisions,” said California Highway Patrol (CHP) Commissioner Joe Farrow. “In addition, there are many educational programs developed by the CHP, our allied agencies, as well as non-profit organizations such as Impact Teen Drivers that have made sustained efforts in reducing distracted driving.”

According to ABC News, the CHP is also asking parents for their help to lower the number of teen driver fatalities. They are requesting that parents set a good example for their children while in the car with them by never using their cell phones.

Even though parents may be relieved that the number of vehicular deaths are down in California, they may still worry about their own child on the road. However, there is a way for them to monitor their behavior without being in the passenger seat, according to The Durango Herald.

Parent control software could allow parents to see if their child is using their phone while driving, which may give some peace of mind. In California, regardless of whether the teen is talking to someone with a hands-free device, it is still against the law if they are under 18. It may be important for parents to ensure their child stays off the phone while cruising around so they don’t face any hefty fines or pay worse consequences.