National Report Calls for Total Ban on Cell Phone Use While Driving

Ortiz Applauds Report, Urges Passage of Text Messaging While Driving Ban
January 14, 2009
(Albany, NY) – Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (Brooklyn-51 AD) today applauded a report by the National Safety Council that highlighted the dangers of motorist use of cell phones and other messaging devices. The report cites a study from the Harvard Center of Risk Analysis that puts the annual financial toll of cell phone-related crashes at $43 billion annually. Beyond financial costs, the report also cited an estimated 636,000 crashes, 330,000 injuries, 12,000 serious injuries and 2,600 deaths each year that can be attributed to cell phone use while driving.

“Since 1996, I have worked to ban the use of cell phones while driving to ensure the safety of all New Yorkers. This report confirms what we in New York have known for years: driving while on a cell phone is hazardous. When New York passed legislation that banned the use of hand held cell phones, we took a giant leap forward in improving the safety of our roadways. As a proven leader in this kind of legislation, it is imperative that passage of legislation banning text messaging while driving is a priority this session.” Ortiz said.

The National Safety Council Report also cited the conversation being held rather than the cell phone in hand as the primary danger. President and CEO of the NSC Janet Froetscher said that cell phone conversation is far more dangerous than conversation with passengers because passengers are aware of the driving conditions. “The person on the other end of the call is oblivious to your driving conditions. The passenger provides another pair of eyes on the road,” stated Froetscher.

Assemblyman Ortiz reaffirms his commitment to increasing the safety of New York’s roadways through continued legislation. “Since 1996, I have worked to keep citizens safe from the dangers of distracted driving. As technology continues to develop, we as legislators must keep pace,” said Ortiz.

For the full report, visit the National Safety Council’s Website at www.nsc.org.