Car and truck crash reduction is the mission. Will new laws on distracted driving help?

We have focused on "distracted driving" on this website and have chronicled the progress of area jurisdictions as they enact laws designed to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries. The District of Columbia has been at the forefront of eliminating distracted driving crashes and is the safest jurisdiction in the country in which to drive.

Maryland too has moved forward with more restrictive laws and the state's roadway deaths are at an all-time low.

The inevitable question, will these laws be sufficient to eliminate distracted driving as a cause of wrongful car and truck deaths and injuries?

Virginia Tech performed one of the earliest meaningful studies of distracted driving and the results disturbed both cell phone manufacturers and avid users. Comparisons to drunk driving were made and again resistance to the convenience of multi-tasking and the "freedom" to use cell phones while driving intervened.

Now the problems with distracted driving have led Maryland and many other jurisdictions have enacted laws prohibiting both texting and hand use of cell phones. The solution it seems is hands free cell phone use right?

The National Safety Council has issued a white paper illustrating that it is not merely typing or fumbling with phone operation that is the problem but rather brain distraction. The NSC paper refers to 30 or more scientific studies that show that driving while using a cell phone, hands free or not, impairs the brain's capacity to process important information.

The concept is that drivers are presented with information that is important to safe driving and yet appear to have an attention blindness. Drivers ability to process information and respond to hazards and unexpected situations is substantially impaired.

The NSC estimates that 25% of all car, bus and truck crashes involve cell phone use at the moment of crash.

The bottom-line hands-free is not the answer. Save your phone calls for when you are not driving. For more go to: