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Accident Deaths Decrease in States Where Handheld Cell Phones are Banned

February 14, 2022

A study published last September in the journal Epidemiology found that states with hands-free cellphone restrictions for drivers have fewer driver deaths.

“Our research demonstrates that hands-free laws save lives and reduce the societal costs associated with distracted driving,” study co-author Dr. Motao Zhu said in a press release. His study found that comprehensive handheld bans were associated with fewer driver fatalities.

Many States Have Banned Cellphone Use While Driving

There are 18 states that issued comprehensive bans on the use of handheld cellphones while driving, and from 1999 to 2016, they saw roughly a 7% reduction in the number of accidents with driver fatalities. But researchers didn’t see decreases in non-driver fatalities or in total motor vehicle accident-related deaths during that time. However, researchers did find that hands-free laws have prevented about 140 driver deaths and 13,900 driver injuries annually in the United States.

Traffic crashes are a number one cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the CDC says that using a cell phone while driving poses a dangerous safety hazard. For instance, cellphone use may cause drivers to take their hands off the wheel and avert their eyes off the road. Using a cellphone to call, text, and check apps can distract motorists and can also take their minds off driving.

In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also says that drivers’ cellphone use is a major traffic safety hazard. The NHTSA estimated that one in 10 drivers were using a cellphone at any daylight moment in 2018. And a 2015 national survey reported that approximately one in five drivers read messages or viewed information on social media apps at least once a month.

Texting and Driving in Michigan

Since 2010, our state has prohibited texting and driving. And in 2013, Kelsey’s Law prohibited new drivers with a Level 1 or 2 license from driving while using a cell phone. The law was named after 17-year-old Kelsey Raffaele of Sault Ste. Marie, who died in a crash while speaking on her phone and driving in 2010.

Now, using a cell phone while driving would be illegal under bills passed by the Michigan House in January 2022.
It’s the latest attempt to enact legislation aimed at reducing distracted driving.

The Michigan House voted 75-26 to pass the package’s main bill, which would ban the use of all mobile devices while driving, including cell phones, laptops, or tablets.

The proposed penalties for violating the law would include a $100 civil fine or 16 hours of community service for a first offense, and a $250 civil fine for a second or subsequent offense. The fine would double if an individual was involved in a crash at the time of the violation.
There are exceptions in the bill for hands-free devices, emergency calls, GPS hands, or selecting a number on a phone.

The bill package was endorsed by GM executive Steven Kiefer, whose 18-year-old son, Mitchel, was killed by a distracted driver in September 2016.


Save lives!

If you need to use your phone while driving, do so hands-free.

If you or a family member has been seriously injured in an auto accident in Michigan where distracted driving was a factor, contact Buchanan Firm. Our Grand Rapids car accident lawyers will help you pursue compensation against those who are responsible.

For a free consultation with an experienced semi accident attorney in Michigan, contact Buchanan Firm. Our firm proudly serves people all across Michigan, including major cities like Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Detroit, Lansing, Holland, St. Joe, and Ann Arbor, and rural towns such as Lowell, Ada, Fremont, Newaygo, Grand Haven, Rockford, and Cedar Springs. We will meet you after-hours, at home or in the hospital, to accommodate you.