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Cellphone Bans Are Unenforced And Ineffective

Lewis & Tompkins is a D.C. law firm that represents those injured in car accidents. One cause of car wrecks that happens way too often is distracted driving. When people use their cellphones or other electronic devices while driving, accidents are often the result. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, contact D.C. car accident attorneys Lewis & Tompkins today.

Teenagers, with their finely honed sense of invulnerability, don’t really understand that many of the rules that parents put into place exist for good reasons and for their own good. How do you think a teenager would react if you stopped telling him when to go to school? Or how to dress? Or stopped asking to see his report card? Even if your teen has good character, how would you think they would react if you completely stopped enforcing the rules? What if you let your teen break all the rules without grounding him? What if you let him get poor grades and didn’t say anything about it? What if you caught him smoking or drinking underage and didn’t do anything about it? What if he stayed out all night without calling and you didn’t do anything about it?

The results would probably be catastrophic.

We bring this up because a recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety claims that not only is cellphone use by teen drivers up despite laws to the contrary, but the laws aren’t being enforced by the police.

The study took place in North Carolina, which enacted a ban on teens using cellphones while driving on December 1, 2006. According to the study, 11% of teen drivers were observed using cellphones as they left school in the afternoon before the ban took place. About 5 months after the ban took effect, almost 12% of teen drivers were observed using phones. Most drivers were using hand-helds. Nine percent were holding phones to their ears, while fewer than 1% were using hands-free devices. About 2% were observed dialing or texting.

Bear in mind that despite a well-publicized ban, cellphone use by driving teens went up.

So since more teens were ignoring the law, citations by police must have gone up dramatically, right?

Not according to the IIHS study. “…Most parents and teen drivers agreed that police officers weren’t looking for cellphone violators. Seventy-one percent of teens and 60 percent of parents reported that enforcement was rare or nonexistent. Only 22 percent of teenagers and 13 percent of parents surveyed believed the law was being enforced fairly often or a lot.”

There are two questions that need to be asked. First, why aren’t the new laws being enforced? Why aren’t local and state police issuing citations to those that violate the law? Secondly, why does a cellphone driving ban involve only teens? Why not extend the ban to anyone behind the wheel of a car, regardless of age?

Driving while talking on the phone is DANGEROUS. Driving while texting is INCREDIBLY DANGEROUS. It causes drivers to not pay attention to the road. It causes car accidents. It causes injuries. It causes deaths.

Washington, D.C., has its own laws banning cellphone use while driving. If the Carolinas are any indication of a nationwide trend, then we would wager that many D.C.-area residents are on our roads right now, talking and texting with impunity.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver, contact Lewis & Tompkins for a free legal consultation today.