The New York Times has an article on how the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chose not to make public hundreds of pages of research and warnings about the relationship between cell phones and car accidents. Why? Higher-ups at the NHTSA claim that the motivating force was concerns about angering Congress. I’m sure this may be what the NHTSA officials were told, but the reason for the information being withheld is that the agency was sticking to its mission of gathering safety data, not lobbying states. Doesn’t this sound more like the Bush administration to you than it does Congress?
Apparently, the data showed that hands-free headsets did not eliminate car accidents, because cell phone conversation was what causes the distraction, not just the holding of the cell phone. To date, no state has banned entirely the use of cell phones while driving.
I’ve never seen data estimating how many Maryland car accidents are caused by cell phone usage. But I think the Maryland legislature should look at this study and consider what our law should be in Maryland on cell phone usage while driving a car. Cell phone use is still on the rise and Maryland accident lawyers already have enough business.
Maryland needs to decide if we are playing Russian Roulette every time we drive down a two-lane highway at 50 miles an hour, either talking on a cell phone, or with someone coming at us from the opposite direction talking on a cell phone.