US mulls banning phone use while driving

July 13th, 2011 - 2:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 13 (IANS/EFE) In a desperate bid to bring down road accidents, the US is looking at steps to curb the use of mobile telephones while driving.

US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Tuesday that his department would consider implementing a nationwide programme against the use of cell phones while driving once it was tried out in Connecticut and New York.

On his blog, LaHood said that “strong laws, strong enforcement and public awareness” had reduced the use of mobile phones in two pilot programmes in Syracuse (New York) and Hartford (Connecticut).

LaHood also took the occasion to announce the extension of the programme statewide in New York and Connecticut — “to test its effectiveness as a possible blueprint for safety across the country”.

On Monday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that programmes in Hartford and Syracuse had drastically cut the incidence of talking and texting on cell phones while driving.

NHTSA said that in 2009, a total of 5,500 people died and another 500,000 were injured in accidents caused by drivers’ distraction while using cell phones and other mobile instruments.

This means that 16 percent of deaths in traffic accidents were the direct consequence of drivers’ distraction while using cell phones.

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