Cellphone distracted driving deaths decline in California

1:14 PM, Mar 5, 2012   |    comments
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SACRAMENTO, CA - Three and a half years ago, California enacted a law prohibiting the use of hand-held phones while driving. It appears the ban is paying off.

The California Office of Traffic Safety studied traffic crash deaths in the two years before the law and the two years afterward. The numbers showed there was a 47 percent decline in hand-held cellphone driver deaths and a 22 percent drop in traffic deaths overall over the four-year period.

In addition, a survey conducted by OTS in 2011 found 40 percent of respondents say they talk less in the car (hands-free and hand-held) since the July 1, 2008 law. Six in 10 participants said texting and talking are the biggest safety concerns on California roadways and 84 percent claimed cellphone conversations or texting while driving ares the most serious distractions while driving.

Perhaps in part due to several law enforcement cellphone crackdowns, convictions for hand-held cellphone violations have steadily increased, reports OTS. In 2011 there were 460,487 cellphone citations statewide in California. That was 22 percent more than in 2010 and 52 percent more than 2009.

The cost of a ticket for a first offense is at least $159, and $279 for subsequent offenses.

OTS says more needs to be done.

"A good step for parents is to never call or text your kids if you think they might be driving," said Christopher J. Murphy, OTS Director.


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