Smartphones are so much more than a regular old cell phone. They have become such a staple of everyday life in that they make almost everything more convenient. Now that smartphones are basically mini-computers we carry around with us in our pockets, it’s not hard to find a use for them in almost any situation. This convenience is a blessing and a curse.
Unfortunately, the usefulness of our smartphones has now caused far too many drivers to become distracted while driving which can carry significant costs. The most severe cost is injury or loss of life, but now that more and more states are passing laws penalizing drivers caught using their phones, the costs can be in the form of significant fines and in some cases license suspension.
The Dangers of Cell Phone Use
In case you think the danger of cell phone use while operating a car or truck is exaggerated, let’s look at the numbers. According to the National Safety Council, cell phones caused 26% of all traffic accidents—more than one out of every four crashes. A similar study by All State found that every year, drivers distracted by cell phones caused 636,000 crashes, 330,000 minor injuries, 12,000 major injuries, 2,700 deaths, and US$43 billion in damages.1
Restrictions on Cell Phone Use
The consequences of being cited for cell phone use while driving differ from state to state and sometimes city to city, but they are becoming more severe as more attention is brought to the dangers of distracted driving.
Additionally, a 2012 federal transportation law provided $17.5 million in grants to states that allow law enforcement to cite drivers for using their cell phones—meaning that enforcement efforts on restrictions on anti-driving while using a cell phone laws have become more prevalent with authorities.
Depending on where a driver is when they are cited and how many times they’ve been caught violating cell phone use rules, the penalties can range from something as minor as a fine, to insurance premium hikes, and/or license suspension. You also have to consider the largest possible penalty which is the health and safety of yourself, your passengers, and your fellow drivers should phone use cause a crash. The exact nature of cell phone bans also varies according to where the driver is. Some states only ban cell phones in certain areas like school zones or construction areas, while others have complete bans on any and all cell phone usage unless the phone is placed in a hands-free device.
Given the severity of some of the penalties drivers can receive for being caught using their cell phones while driving, it is important that everyone familiarize themselves with the rules in their particular area. If you often find yourself reaching for your cell phone while you’re on the road, then it’s also time to start training yourself to keep the phone turned off when you’re driving; or, at the very least, to invest in a hands-free device.
If you do get a ticket for using a cell phone, we’re here to help. We offer online traffic school courses that are convenient and affordable. Learn more today by calling (800) 558-9887.