A recent study conducted at Harvard will have California
legislators grabbing their cell phones either to renew discussions
about regulating their use by drivers
– or to hide them out of embarrassment.
A recent study conducted at Harvard will have California legislators grabbing their cell phones either to renew discussions about regulating their use by drivers – or to hide them out of embarrassment.
Just last week, a 28-year-old King City woman died after running into a truck stopped at the light at the intersection of Highway 156 and The Alameda in San Juan Bautista. Investigators were looking into the fact that she may have been talking on a cell phone at the time of the accident.
Here are two facts that are no secret:
Drivers talking on cell phones are a hazard, and the California Legislature has passed up almost every opportunity to do something about it.
According to the study by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, the death toll from wireless-related accidents is about 2,600 a year.
Earlier studies have put the death rate at about 1,000. The study estimates that cell phone use also is responsible for 570,000 injuries a year.
Given that many law enforcement agencies are not yet tracking wireless-related accidents, the actual numbers may be worse.
The study also refutes the argument that the benefits of going wireless while driving outweigh the negatives.
The costs of cell phone-related accidents are now eclipsing the economic benefits.
Of course, this cost-benefit analysis leaves out an important item – the price innocent pedestrians and motorists pay when hit by distracted drivers.
New York already has banned the use of hand-held phones by drivers. California lawmakers should put down their phones long enough to do the same.