Truck drivers have been banned from using handheld cellular devices for nearly a year. Now, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is calling for a nationwide ban on handheld cell phone use for all drivers.
At a recent GHSA meeting, the group expanded its policy from targeting distracted and drugged driving to include all forms of handheld cell phone use and a zero tolerance drug policy. The association said that texting bans are too hard for many states to enforce, because drivers can claim they were dialing a number and not sending a text in order to avoid being ticketed.
“This has been the experience in California. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, there were 460,487 statewide handheld cell phone convictions in 2011 while there were only 14,886 texting convictions,” GHSA said in a statement.
“Recent enforcement projects in specific New York and Connecticut localities have shown that handheld cell phone bans can be enforced effectively and can reduce driver use of a cell phone.”
Currently, 38 states have texting laws and only 10 states and DC have bans on handheld cellphones.
In addition to strengthening cell phone laws, the GHSA has called for stricter drugged driving laws.
“GHSA now supports drugged driving per se laws, also known as zero tolerance laws. A driver can be charged with impaired driving solely for having a drug is his/her system. Seventeen states currently have enacted these laws,” GHSA said in its statement.
“Additionally, GHSA is encouraging states to adopt an enhanced penalty for driving under the influence of multiple drugs, such as a combination of alcohol and another drug, or the combination of multiple drugs (other than alcohol).”
Find all state drug-impaired driving laws at: www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/dre_perse_laws.html. Distracted driving laws are at: www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/cellphone_laws.html.