Citing studies and researches about driver distractions, the state of Illinois recently passed a bill into law prohibiting motorists from using their mobile phones while driving. State Governor Pat Quinn and State Secretary Jesse White signed the new law just last week in an effort to curb the increasing number of car accidents associated with driver distraction.
The new law took effect August 6 of this year and is set to help reduce injuries and fatalities caused by distracted drivers using their cell phones. Motorists caught texting or making calls will be pulled over by law enforcers and fined $75. The new measure has garnered praise from car safety experts, as well as insurance specialists.
Analysts say that by outlawing the use of cell phones while driving, car accidents can be prevented, resulting in relatively lower insurance rates. Experts agree that while the law effectively prevents drivers from using their mobile phones while on the road, it has failed to address other causes of driver distraction. For instance, they explain, the measure does not prevent or control drivers from using navigation systems. Some studies suggest that navigations systems, as well as other electronic devices, can distract motorists and cause accidents.
The University of Utah conducted a study in 2006 which detailed the effects of using cell phones while driving. Researchers found out that drivers who are fond of texting or making calls could be just as impaired as intoxicated motorists. MSNBC also published an article supporting the findings of the study. Researchers have cited decreased reaction times of drivers who text or call while behind the wheel. Distracted motorists also tend to swerve and drive erratically, much like drunk drivers. The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society also discovered that cell phone-related driver distraction causes some 330,000 injuries as well as 2,600 deaths each year in the U.S.
Insurance experts agree that Illinois’ measure can help set precedence for other states to follow suit. They add that if policyholders learn how to use their phones in a more responsible manner, accident figures can go down. When this happens, they say, insurance rates can potentially decline as well.
Car safety specialists explain that motorists can help reduce the likelihood of accidents simply by paying close attention to the road at all times. They also strongly suggest following road signs. Of course, experts recommend pulling over to a safe place before even using a cell phone.