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The Source: Hands On The Wheel With Distracted Driving Law

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Chris Eudaily
/
TPR News

  

The ordinance passed with little controversy, but that didn't mean that people liked that it just became illegal to use your phone while driving.

Texting, calling, using Google maps or furiously trying to open Shazam before the song on the radio ended all became against the law in the Alamo City on Jan. 1.

In fact, doing anything with your phone in your hands while driving could get you pulled over.

The newest in distracted driving laws aims at addressing the often deadly issue. Distracted driving has been found to be as dangerous as drunk driving, impacting reaction times dramatically.

Unlike drunk driving, cellphone use while driving remains largely acceptable to the public at large, with an estimated 660,000 people driving and using a phone every daylight moment. According to the National Safety Council, 26 percent of all accidents today involve cell phone use, and roughly 3,000 people a year die in distracted-driver related accidents. 

San Antonio joins cities and states across the country banning the use of cell phones in the car. Fourteen states ban hand-held cellphone talking while driving, and 37 states ban all use by novice drivers. A statewide ban on texting while driving passed the Texas legislature in 2013, but was vetoed by Gov. Rick Perry, making him the first Governor to do so.

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Credit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety http://bit.ly/1ysIojM
States with bans on cell phones

Advocates for such laws hope they will change the culture of driving. Opponents point to several studies that show no reduction in distracted driving crashes as a result of instituting such bans. A study by the Highway Loss Data Institute found no evidence to support a ban.

The argument for bans on hand-held use become just as tenuous when you look at other studies which show that talking on a hands-free device--devices most bans allow drivers to use--while driving is just as dangerous as talking on a hand-held device.

Guest

  • Mike Gallagher, district 10 city council member and architect of amending the ordinance to include all use of cellphones while driving.
Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org and on Twitter at @paulflahive