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How Does California’s Cell Phone Ban Affect Irvine Rear-End Collision Rates?

Orange County car accident attorneyA total of 91 percent of the United States population now has a subscription to a cell phone, including virtually all motorists throughout Los Angeles, Irvine, Santa Ana, Riverside and surrounding areas. Many of these phones not only make it possible to talk to others at any time, but also make it easy to connect via text message, email and social media. The problem is, far too many drivers are using their phones to make these connections when they should be paying attention to the road ahead of them.

An experienced rear-end accident lawyer knows that a driver who is on the phone is more likely to get involved in many different kinds of collisions, including rear-end crashes. Drivers who are not paying attention to the road because they are on their phone may not see that the car in front of them has stopped and may strike the lead vehicle's rear bumper.

As cell phone use has increased, bans or limitations on cell phone use while driving have become commonplace. A recent report published by Southern Methodist University took a close look at the association of cell-phone bans and rear-end crashes.

How Do Cell Phone Bans Affect Rear-End Crashes? 

The SMU research assessed how California's cell phone ban has an impact on the rate of rear-end crashes. California was chosen because the ban is very broad in the state (all drivers are prohibited from handheld cell phone use, and drivers under 18 are even banned from using a hands-free cell device).

The research found that the ban has a measurable and statistically-significant impact on the number of rear-end accidents. Although the majority of cell phone users know that being on a phone is dangerous while operating a vehicle, around 11 percent of all drivers are on their phones at any given moment, and the majority of motorists admit to using their phones as they drive. While bans do not prevent everyone from talking on the phone while driving (some motorists break the law), there is a reduction in the number of people who use their phones behind the wheel when the law prohibits it. This, in turn, results in a reduction in the number of rear-end crashes once a ban has been put into place.

Data on rear-end crashes in California from 2006 to 2008 was compared with data from 2008 to 2010 (California's handheld device ban was passed in 2008). Before the ban was passed, there were approximately 13,552 reported rear-end collisions. After the ban was passed, there were approximately 11,708 rear-end accidents. Other factors were accounted for, including rainfall, the number of new vehicles registered on the road, gas prices, monthly motor fuel consumption, and even unemployment. After making adjustments for these factors, the data still suggests that the ban on handheld device use had a positive impact on reducing the number of rear-end crashes.

When there are strict laws in place preventing drivers from using their phones, they are less likely to do so and more likely to pay attention to what the car in front is doing. This means that passing and enforcing rules prohibiting cell phone use could help to make people on the roads safer by reducing the risks of rear-end accidents.

If you've been injured, or you lost a loved one, contact the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton at (949) 757-0707 to speak with a personal injury attorney in Irvine, CA.  Serving Los Angeles, Irvine, Santa Ana, Riverside and surrounding areas.

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Dan Carlton and his team are dedicated, down-to-earth, compassionate personal injury attorneys committed to helping victims of traffic accidents, personal injuries, dog bites and more. Serving Los Angeles and the entire Orange County area, including Anaheim, Tustin, Irvine, Garden Grove and Santa Ana, for over 40 years, we have handled thousands of cases.

Daniel C. Carlton