Distracted driving puts newly licensed teens at risk

A study published in the January 2014 New England Journal of Medicine showed that new teen drivers are significantly more likely than adults to be involved in a crash or near miss when distracted by a cell phone (dialing, texting, reaching for a phone or other object), eating, or looking at a roadside object. This study is in line with previous research involving experienced drivers indicating that cell phone use is associated with a 4x increase in the risk of a crash.

Currently, 37 states and D.C. ban all cell phone use by novice drivers. There are no states which ban all cell phone use for all drivers, though 12 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands prohibit all drivers from hand-held cell phone use. 41 states, D.C., PR, Guam, and US Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers.

Texas has some of the least restrictions on cell phone use; the only state-wide law is that all cell phone use (including text messaging) is banned for novice drivers for the first 12 months of their intermediate stage of licensing. House Bill 242, to prohibit texting while driving, had been passed by the Texas House and Senate but was vetoed in June 2011 by Governor Perry who considered the bill a “government effort to micromanage the behavior of adults.” Several cities have banned texting while driving but at this time there are no state-wide propositions that have been re-introduced.

New England Journal of Medicine article here 

For more information on bans within Texas, you can read this report

Distracted driving laws by state: link

Vetoed House Bill 242

By Alison Moy, MD

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