(Albany NY) Today, Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, (Brooklyn 51AD), the driving force behind the law prohibiting hand-held cell phone use in cars, is pushing for the passage of his more comprehensive ban, bill A. 23. This bill calls for an outright ban of cell phone use while operating a motor vehicle.
Yesterday, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute released a report which stated that people who talk on cell phones while they drive are three times more likely to be involved in a crash than motorists who focus all their attention on driving.
The study stated that drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 were four times more likely to have a distraction-related crash or near crash, than drivers over the age of 35. It also stated that cell phones were the most common distraction for drivers in the study and that the seconds drivers spent dialing were the most dangerous.
This report is a further justification of what Assemblyman Ortiz has been advocating for the past 10 years when he first began the fight to ban cell phone use while driving. Ortiz was pleased to see the first cell phone ban passed, but he never believed that it was enough. He has been calling for greater restrictions since the beginning. He has introduced a number of bills that would increase restrictions aside from the complete cell ban, including legislation that would prohibit teen and beginner drivers from any cell phone use while driving.
“New Yorkers are spending more and more time on the roads. This, coupled with the ever increasing amount of cell phone use, has the potential of increasing injuries and deaths due to otherwise avoidable collisions,” said Ortiz. “While my first bill banning hand-held phones began dealing with this safety issues, A. 23 can help to end the necessary dangers that remain.”