The total number of fatalities from auto accidents in California has fallen by 22 percent since the 2008 law banning hand-held cellphone use behind the wheel. This statistic comes courtesy of a study conducted by the Safe Transportation Research and Education Center (SafeTREC) at Berkeley, University of California, which has looked at records from two years before and two years after the law was passed. While the 22 percent drop is fairly conclusive, another statistic is even more convincing: the number of drivers killed on the road due to cellphone use has fallen by 47 percent. Fatal accidents while using a hands-free phone use saw a similar decrease.
While the 47 percent drop is impressive, we're sure lawmakers will be looking to the remaining 53 percent, with the hefty $169 fine for first offenders obviously not presenting a big enough deterrent. Christopher J. Murphy, director for the California Office of Traffic Safety said that, while his office is thrilled that the ban has reduced distracted driving crashes, "there are still far too many drivers talking and texting while driving." The stats will also be encouraging for Chapel Hill, NC, which plans to ban almost all cellphone use while driving on June 1st.