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Consumer Advocates

Tragedy Creates Legal Momentum

In the last decade, all types of organizations, both public and private, have pushed for increased cell phone safety measures when it comes to driving. Everyone has a cell phone it seems and the device portability makes it convenient for use almost anywhere. In a multitasking nation it makes perfect sense that few people would give a second thought to dialing their cell phone while driving. There are plenty more distractions drivers engage in already, what’s one more?

In 1990 there were over 4 million cell phone users, but by early 2007 that number increased to over 236 million.1 A sample of cell phone users by Nationwide Insurance showed that an alarming 73% admitted to using their cell phones while driving.

Some critics of cell phone bans argue that the ubiquity of cell phones has earned them the bad rap. Talking on a cell phone isn’t any more dangerous than eating a burger, arguing with your kids, or fumbling through your CDs, right?

Visible Consumer Safety Advocates

Consumer cell phone safety advocates are often visible and vocal. Their incentive is often rooted in personal tragedy and their message an effective appeal. Interests such as these are instrumental in leveraging lawmakers to change driver behavior.

Tragic Stories Win Legislation and Policy Changes

Consumer advocates argue rather convincingly that the sheer numbers of cell phones increase distractions exponentially. Studies are mixed on real crash statistics and measurement of driver distraction can only be based on guesswork in most cases. Nevertheless tragic stories of personal loss due to driver cell phone distraction are winning vocal groups legislative momentum. Four states have tough laws that make manual use of a cell phone illegal. And hundreds of companies, both large and small, have added comprehensive cell phone safety policies to employee operations.

  1. “cell phones and Driving,” Insurance Information Institute, May 2007, http://www.iii.org/media/hottopics/insurance/cellphones/

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