Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cellphone law curbing bad driver habit

A ban on driving while using a cellphone has markedly reduced that dangerous behavior in Washington, D.C., the Washington Post reports. This is a driver habit that worries just about every street bicyclist I know.
Researchers concluded that hand-held use dropped by 41 percent immediately and five years later remains 43 percent below where it would have been without the ban, based on statistical models. Both New York state and Connecticut recorded sharper declines in use just after their hand-held bans took effect, but more people resumed using them in those states with the passage of time. "It appeared that stronger enforcement of the D.C. ban may have led to the sustained lower use rates compared with New York," the study says. Five other states also have banned use of hand-held phones for drivers.
Such a ban was proposed in Florida earlier this year, but didn't get out of the state Legislature. The sponsor, state Sen. Fredericka Wilson, is back this fall with an effort to ban text-messaging while driving -- a particularly troublesome use of cellphones. There's more about the D.C. study at washingtonpost.com

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