Ban all cell phone use while driving

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Since cell phones came into being, distracted driving has become the top cause of motor vehicle crashes and collisions.

And cell phone use is the top driving distraction.

On January 1, 2010, it became illegal in British Columbia to engage in a telephone discussion while holding a cell phone (but it continued to be legal to do so hands free).

Safety conscious British Columbians spent money on hands free cell phone technology, thinking it was safe.

They were wrong.  Engaging in a telephone discussion while driving is dangerous, regardless of whether or not you are holding the cell phone.

On June 1, 2016, we increased penalties for hand held cell phone use (while continuing to permit hands free cell phone use).

Even more British Columbians were pushed to spend money on hands free cell phone technology.

Scientific studies have been available since before British Columbia banned hand held cell phone use, establishing that the distraction of talking on a telephone while driving is the same whether or not you are holding a cell phone in your hand.

By making one (hand held) illegal, we sent the message that the other (hands free) was safe, which led to an overall increase in cell phone use while driving.

It is time to set the record straight, educate the driving public that any telephone discussion while driving is dangerous and ban all cell phone use while driving.

Resources:

Discussion Paper - Addressing the Problem of Distracted Driving and its Impacts to Road Safety, British Columbia's Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, 2009: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/driving-and-transportation/driving/publications/research-2009-distracted-driver-discussion-paper.pdf

Understanding the distracted brain – why driving while using hands-free cell phones is risky behaviour, National Safety Council (United States), April, 2012: https://www.nsc.org/Portals/0/Documents/DistractedDrivingDocuments/Cognitive-Distraction-White-Paper.pdf 



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