One Year Anniversary of Cell Phone Ban in Manitoba


Although a ban in Manitoba has been in place for one year now, Manitobans are still talking and texting behind the wheel of a car. A CAA Manitoba survey states that 99.4 percent of the respondents had still seen motorists talking or texting behind the wheel and 30 percent admit to talking on their phone while driving.

The survey also shows that 68 percent of all respondents believe violators will not be caught and ticketed by police. Liz Peters, CAA Manitoba’s Public and Government Affairs Manager, admits that the enforcement is hard because police and RCMP have to be sure the driver is first violating the law to pull them over. She does say that 2,600 tickets have been issued in the City of Winnipeg, and also understands that the RCMP has also been active in rural areas. Peters believes compliance from citizens will be achieved after more offenders have been caught.

58 percent of all respondents believed demerit points should also be added to a $200 fine.
The survey interviewed 11,000 Manitobans. 48 percent owned a Bluetooth, but 38 percent use it “only on occasion”.

Peters feels that the study results show the opportunity to advance public awareness. She believes that people know about the law, but don’t know how dangerous talking or texting on a cell phone is while operating a vehicle. She notes that you are 23 times more likely to get in an accident while texting behind the wheel of a car.

Overall, Peters does feel that the law is effective but will take time to sink in with the public.

Respondents from the survey show that 49 percent say they believe the ban has made our roads safer.

Penalties for Cell Phone Usage While Driving

Texting and driving is illegal in New York, and fines are now higher than ever.

“When you hear that noise go off it’s almost like its suspense you have to know who it is, you got to know what they want and I know for me I get excited every time I hear it so I look and I see,” says Brent Fallon of Endicott about cell phones.

Addictions grow just as fast as technology.

Fatal accidents from texting and driving now have New York State charging $150 and adding three points to your license if pulled over and ticketed, and police will no longer need a traffic violation to pull someone over if they suspect an individual of using a cell phone.

A local city department is now implementing new procedures to try and catch violators.

“We’ll probably start off with some unmarked car, these cars will be out at the traffic lights looking for people text messaging while they’re sitting at the light, and as they pull away the officer’s can go ahead and enforce the new law,” says Lt. Gerald Mullins of the Vestal Police Department.

Mullins also states that officers look for the same signs as drunk driving, like swerving.

“Well it will be much easier to make the charge for one, I regard texting as more dangerous than cell phone talking because you have to completely take your eyes off the road to sit there and type,” Broome County Sheriff David Harder says.

“Frankly people think that they’re the exception to the rule and I’m glad that there is a law against it because it is deadly to do that and I always remind my kids about it and other kids too,” says Barbara Schwerd of Westchester.

The new law applies to any use of all options cell phones carry, but police, firefighters, and EMTs are exempt from it.

The law also does not penalize the use of a handheld device stuck to a surface or a GPS.  For more information on handheld device law and the legal penelties of disobying these laws, contact Estey & Bomberger, LLP for more information.

Driver Can’t Remember Crash While Texting and Driving

The driver of a car that drove into a Richmond business on Tuesday says he cannot recall any of the events leading up to his accident.

Lucas Harrison, 21, of Connersville described to police that he was texting and driving and the next thing he remembers is waking up inside his smashed car with two witnesses next to him outside the vehicle.

“I blacked out, and I didn’t come to until after the accident occurred,” Harrison said Wednesday. “The police officer said I sent a text message four minutes before he got the call (about the accident). And I don’t know if it is some kind of temporary amnesia or something, but I really don’t remember what happened.”

Harrison was driving a Chevy Cavalier which drove passed the center turning lane and two lanes of oncoming traffic, and then jumped over a curb, narrowly missed a sign post of businesses, but smashed into Grandview Medical Equipment through the retail area, out the back of the building, and coming to rest in a parking lot with the back of his car underneath the back wall of the building.
Luckily no injuries occurred.

Harrison passed a sobriety test by paramedics at the scene of the accident. He said he only had a minor scratch on his left arm.  Contact Estey & Bomberger in Los Angeles for a free legal consultation if you or a loved one is ever involved in an accident involving the negligence of someone else.

“I really wish I remembered what happened, but I don’t,” said Harrison, and told police that he “must have hit his head on the roof of the car and got knocked out because he remembers nothing after hitting the curb.”

“I am happy nobody was hurt,” he said. “God was with me because I don’t remember going across the lanes of traffic and I don’t remember anything about the accident.”

Harrison hopes that everyone can learn from his mistake. A $500 traffic citation for using his cell phone while driving was issued to him. Indiana had just banned texting while driving on Friday.

“It definitely gives me a new awareness of the dangers of texting and driving,” Harrison said. “You might think nothing is going to happen, but you never know when anything is going to happen. It is always important to keep your eyes on the road.

“It is sad that I had to be the one to set the example, but I hope everyone can learn from this example and not text while they are driving. It only takes a second with your eyes off the road for something bad to happen.”

Driver on Route 141 Crash Caused from Texting While Driving

A 19-year-old driver was texting on her cell phone driving on Route 141 Wednesday morning and lost control of her vehicle.

Initial reports state that the driver was a juvenile, however records from the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office say the driver was Courtney Conrady, 19, from Stockton Springs. She was summoned on part of failing to maintain a vehicle after the accident.

Conrady was driving a 1998 Pontiac Grand Prix after 10 a.m. on Wednesday and told officer deputies Gerry Lincoln and Darrin Moody that she “wasn’t paying attention” down Route 141 while she was driving.

The vehicle apparently had drifted into the next lane and Conrady had overcorrected the turn which sent her Pontiac off the road. The vehicle did not flip over and remained on all four wheels the whole time.
Conrady admitted the next day to texting on her cell phone when she looked up and saw she was drifting into the oncoming lane of traffic.

Lincoln and Moody firefighters from the Belfast Fire Department assisted at the scene near the intersection.

Lincoln said the vehicle had minor damage, but Conrady remained unhurt.

Pilot Programs Prove Effective With Texting/Talking While Driving

NHTSA’s results prove that texting and talking on cell phones while driving have reduced by one third in Syracuse and Hartford due to their new pilot programs.

The government has begun to enforce stricter laws with the use of cell phones and driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has supported two pilot programs from April 2010 to April 2011 in Syracuse, New York and Hartford, Connecticut, which has a new campaign called “Phone in One Hand, Ticket in the Other,” similar to the successful “Click it or Ticket” or drunk driving campaigns.

The NHTSA provided $200,000 for each of two pilot programs in each state, while the state was also supported with an additional $100,000. The campaigns use law enforcement crack down, insurance companies, and state officials to provide public seminars and newer laws to help keep citizens aware of the dangers of texting and driving. The year-long program was proven to be very effective.

The results show that each state had reduced their cell phone usage while behind the wheel by at least one-third. Syracuse declined about one-third, while Hartford had a 57 percent drop in handheld cell phone usage and a 72 percent drop in texting.

Researchers looked at Hartford and Syracuse before the programs began and found that Hartford had double the amount of drivers using cell phones then Syracuse. Texting while driving fell from 2.8 to 1.9 percent in Syracuse while Hartford had a drop from 3.9 to 1.1 percent.

“These findings show that strong laws, combined with high visible police enforcement, can significantly reduce dangerous texting and cell phone use behind the wheel,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said. “Based on these results, it is crystal clear that those who try to minimize this dangerous behavior are making a serious error in judgement, especially when a half a million people are injured and thousands more are killed in distracted driving accidents.”

Zero Tolerance for Distracted Driving

Pediatric emergency physician Dr. Charles Nozicka in the Trauma Center at Advocate Condell Medical Center has treated many victims in car crashes as a result from distracted drivers.

He calls it heartbreaking to see the devastating results, especially with teens and children. Summer now poses an even deeper threat to all drivers from the roads being so crowded.

“As an emergency physician and father of four, the issue of distracted driving has been a key component of my professional and parenting practice,” said Nozicka. “Life does not supply our teen drivers with a ‘reset button.’ Studies have shown that distracted driving is as dangerous as driving while intoxicated.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation says 5,474 people were killed on U.S. roadways in 2009, and about 448,000 were injured from distracted driving.

The DOT also states that the main proportion of distracted drivers was those under age 20. Apparently, 16 percent of all drivers who were younger than age 20 were involved in fatal crashes and have been distracted while driving.

The agency states that there are three main types of driving distractions, in which you first take your eyes off the road, then your hands, and then your mind. Texting combines all three making it a dangerous thing to do.

“We must adopt a no tolerance attitude on this issue,” said Nozicka “We have to pay attention to the task at hand. Put the cell phone down. Stop texting and driving. One accident can change a life forever.”

Nozicka says that a statewide campaign is beginning which will raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving.

“I urge all drivers and parents of drivers to visit the site to learn they can help raise awareness,” Nozicka said.

Enforcement of Texting While Driving Ban

Lawmakers are now questioning all enforcement after New York’s new texting-while-driving ban.

Consequences could be fatal if police officials don’t take action soon, as there are so many distracted drivers currently on the road each day. 50 percent of individuals driving are distracted on the roads. Lawmakers responded a couple of years back by banning texting while driving, but making it a secondary offense rather than a primary offense. Primary offenses allow police to pull over individuals with probable cause. Secondary offenses allow police to only ticket individuals for the offense as long as they’ve been pulled over first for another reason, like speeding.

A review of traffic tickets from the Journal’s Albany bureau shows that those who were ticketed for texting and driving while already being pulled over were only a fraction of the number in comparison to those who were talking on a cell phone without the use of a hands-free device, which is currently a primary offense. The Albany bureau found nearly 332,000 tickets being issued statewide in 2010 for cell phone usage behind the wheel of a car. 3,200 tickets were issued for texting while driving in the first year the law took place.

The new law now states that texting while driving is now considered a primary offense and the fine is now set at $150 and the state will now require a distracted-driving curriculum for those seeking their driver’s license.

A Federal Highway Administration study now shows that drivers who were texting while driving were 23 times more likely to get in a car accident. It also says each year thousands of people are killed in car crashes caused from distracted driving. Young drivers under the age of 20 are at the highest risk for distracted drivers being involved in fatal crashes.

The Banning of Cell Phones

A new Nevada law now bans talking and texting on cell phones while driving with the exception of the use of a hands-free device. However, a new study now shows that banning the use of cell phones in car does not decrease the number of car accidents. Mackenzie Warren from News 4 went deep into research and discovered that cell phone usage is not the main reason behind distracted driving, adding that no evidence has proved a hands-free device to be any less risky than a hand-held device behind the wheel. The study, conducted by the Governors Highway Safety Association, does not say that texting or talking on the phone while driving is safe, however it does say no real evidence has proved cell phone bans have cut down the number of car crashes.

The study used long-term data from all the nine states which currently do have a ban on cell phone usage behind the wheel, in which Nevada has just been added to the list. However the study also contradicts itself by saying drivers are distracted about 50 percent of the time on the road, yet people can learn to adapt to actually pay closer attention while driving and talking on the phone.

It also goes into how many drivers focus more while being at a risk, such as passing a construction zone.

“It’s popular to do. It looks like you’re doing something, but in today’s driving market there are a multitude of distractions of with phones are only one,” explains TMCC political scientist Fred Lokken. Lokken says it is still common for lawmakers to take action despite any data that may appear. He added the law passed Nevada’s legislature without much controversy.

Lokken also says the Governors Highway Safety Association is a great source for any information, along with another group called the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety which revealed interesting information. “In each of the states that have imposed texting and hands-free requirements for cars, the [IIHS] literally found an uptick in accident rates-not a downtick.”

Lokken believes this is because drivers now try to hide using their cell phone usage, rather than keeping their phones in front while they can still see the road. “They were doing it up here and still had some sense of the field of vision, they’re now trying to do it down here where they’ve broken the plane of what’s going on which is what increases the accidents,” he says.

Study Shows One-Fourth of Accidents from Texting and Driving

The Governors Highway Safety Association last week released fresh new research which shows the results of distracted driving across the county. The study proves that talking and texting on cell phones while driving are accountable for almost 25 percent of all car accidents in the United States.

The information was collected from a study called “Distracted Driving: What Research Shows and What States Can Do” which state officials read over 350 documents published between the years 2000 and 2011.
The report not only defines what distracted driving actually is, but also includes discussions on how distractions can lead to fatal car accidents and adds new ways and methods of refining the law to combat the dangers of distracted driving.

“Despite all that has been written about driver distraction, there is still a lot that we do not know,” GHSA Executive Director Barbara Harsha said, who watched the report develop. “Much of the research is incomplete or contradictory. Clearly, more studies need to be done addressing both the scope of the problem and how to effectively address it.”

The study concluded that one quarter of all crashes are caused from distracted driving, and found that drivers are frequently distracted about half the time on the road. It also points out that text messaging while driving is one of the easiest and dangerous ways to get into a car crash, with talking on cell phones while driving is next in line.

The authors of the study kindly suggest that state government agencies take a variety of steps, including leveraging low-cost edge and centerline rumble strips which alert motorists when they begin to move outside their driving lane, implementing distracted driving laws and programs, monitoring the usage of cell phones while driving with new laws being enacted, and evaluating other laws and programs which could benefit the citizens and government of the U.S.

One in Five Crashes in New York Due to Distracted Driving

In the state of New York, a new recent national campaign/study in Syracuse suggests one in five crashes is due to distracted driving.

The U.S. Department of Transportation picked up New York as one of two cities in the country to scope out distracted driving in April of 2010. This is called the DOT’s Distracted Driving Enforcement Project which includes a combination of public seminars, law enforcement crackdown, police efforts, and public awareness including speakers from insurance companies and statistics. This was a year-long project was labeled as, “Phone in one hand. Ticket in the other”, which proved that cell phone and texting usage while driving had dropped by 32 percent in Syracuse.

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Barbara J. Fiala, commissioner of Department of Motor Vehicles, publically announced the results from the campaign with law enforcement officials, similar to the national “Click it or Ticket,” campaign which was used to get individuals to wear their seatbelts in the car.

“The Distracted Driving Enforcement Project was an important step in capturing the public’s attention and communicating the message that talking on a cell phone or texting while driving will not be tolerated. We are pleased to have collaborated with the many dedicated partners that helped to make this unique initiative a success,” Chair of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee and Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Barbara J. Fiala said.

Over the course of this year-long project, more than $9,500 in tickets was issued.