Representing victims of serious harm and death

A Call for Consistent Cell Phone Use Laws

On many occasions I have written about the dangers of distracted driving, especially cell phone usage. While I am encouraged by the increased focus on distracted driving, more needs to be done to deliver consistent cell phone use laws across the USA.

Wide Variation in State Laws

It doesn't take much time on the Distraction.gov website to see how much variety there is when it comes to laws regulating the use of cell phones by drivers. Consider the two states where my firm maintains offices:

Illinois

  1. Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for bus drivers (Primary law)
  2. Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers (Primary law)
  3. Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary law)
  4. Illinois bans the use of cell phones while driving in a school zone or in a highway construction zone
  5. Handheld ban for all drivers (Primary law, eff. 1/1/14)

Wisconsin

  1. Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary law)
  2. Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers (Primary law) effective 11/1/12
  3.  Ban on cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers (Primary law)

By way of comparison, here is the law for the State of Florida:

  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Secondary law)

Clearly using a cell phone to make calls while driving in Florida cannot be any safer than doing so in Illinois or Wisconsin, yet this disparity between state laws puts the motoring public at risk. Now that society appreciates the dangers of distracted driving, we really do need more consistent cell phone use laws.

The laws listed above come from Distraction.gov's state-by-state list of cell phone use laws.

Working for More Consistent Cell Phone Use Laws

As a truck accident attorney and as a member of the National Advisory Board of APITLA, I am committed to improved legislation that will deliver standardized and consistent cell phone use laws across the country. Our roads will be a safer place for that.