New Research Supports View That Cell Phone Use While Driving in Atlanta is Dangerous
While most people know that using a cell phone while driving is potentially dangerous, there have been differences of opinion on whether laws that ban conversations, handheld calls and/or text messaging activity on mobile phone actually reduce traffic accident-related fatalities and injuries. Some contend that the difficulty in enforcing such restrictions and relatively nominal fines associated with violations have minimized the impact of cell phone bans on actual driving behavior. Despite this speculation, a recent study by researchers at the University of Illinois suggests that laws that restrict and prohibit cell phone use are particularly effective in highly populated urban areas like the Atlanta-Metro area.
The study, which was published in the journal Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, is unique because it involved a long-term sample over a seven year period whereas most other studies of cell phone laws on accident rates have focused on the immediate impact of the law shortly after implementation. The researchers also analyzed whether population densities in urban as opposed to rural areas had any impact on the effectiveness of cell phone bans. The researchers compared accident rates in urban and rural areas of New York, which enacted one of the first bans on cell phones, to similar regions in Pennsylvania with no such ban.
While the researchers found that cell phone bans significantly reduced accident rates in urban areas, the laws actually corresponded with a moderate increase in the number of accidents in less densely populated areas. The authors of the study indicate that lower levels of enforcement, unique high risk factors in rural driving (i.e. increased speed and alcohol use) and a smaller statistical sample size could explain the increase in accident rates in rural areas. However, the high number of drivers in urban areas provides substantial and statistically relevant evidence that cell phone restrictions in large cities like Atlanta can be effective in reducing collision-related injuries and deaths.
The authors of the study suggest that the study should guide policymakers in enacting tough universal bans on cell phone use by drivers in urban centers. The researchers also suggest that more studies should be conducted to determine whether the increased accident rates in rural areas was a statistical anomaly. While Georgia law only prohibits text messaging by all drivers and calls by novice drivers and bus drivers, this study provides further evidence that using one's cell phone while navigating the roadways of Atlanta is a dangerous practice that can result in preventable life-altering crashes.
If you or someone close to you is injured in a collision involving a driver using a cell phone, our experienced Georgia auto accident lawyers at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to those throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.
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