Cellphone Use in Cars, Redux

2 Oct ’05

The NYT reports on the growing number of US states that have banned the use of cellphones in cars:

When a new state driving law goes into effect here on Saturday, Will Suarez will have to put down his Treo 650 cellphone and stop digging into his briefcase while cruising Connecticut’s streets and highways in his Audi sedan.

The new law, one of the toughest in the nation, goes beyond just prohibiting drivers from using hand-held cellphones while behind the wheel. Those pulled over for speeding or other moving violations can be fined $100 for any behavior that distracts them from driving – glancing at a newspaper, typing on a BlackBerry, applying lipstick while looking in the rearview mirror or turning to yell at the kids in the back seat.

Many of the more recent laws don’t stop at banning cellphones in cars and are instead focused on prohibiting distractions of any kind:

And in the last year, many of those states have gone beyond merely regulating cellphone use among drivers, cracking down on all distractions inside cars.

Tennessee and Virginia, going further than most, have passed laws prohibiting the display of pornographic videos in vehicles. In Nevada, lawmakers recently increased penalties for drivers who kill someone while eating, putting on makeup or using a cellphone. In Washington, district lawmakers have banned driving while “reading, writing, performing personal grooming, interacting with pets or unsecured cargo” or while playing video games. At least a half-dozen other states, including Alaska, Louisiana, Delaware and Wisconsin, are considering bans on activities that pull drivers’ attention away from the road.

I’ve previously posted on this topic here and here.

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