On Wednesday, the ban on using hand held cell phones while driving went into effect into the state of New York. The new law aims to decrease distractions to reduce accident rates and ultimately improve overall road safety for everyone including drivers, passengers and pedestrians.
New York has the strictest law regarding cell phones while driving in the entire nation, motorists who are caught violating the law will be slapped with $100 fine as well as a 2 point penalty on their driver’s license. Accumulating 11 penalty points within an 18 month period will lead to a temporary loss of license.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, however, does not believe this new law will impact the accident rates in New York. In fact, a similar law that was passed in 2001 showed no effect on the accident rate.
Perhaps the bleak results can be attributed to the difficulty of detecting cell phone use when drivers are whizzing by on the highway. Also, the law does not account for individuals reading a text on their phone, or glancing over to see who is calling which may be habits that are highly distracting and could be a bigger cause of accidents than we think.