Press Release - Assemblyman Felix W. Ortiz
District Office

404 55th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718) 492-6334

The Assembly

Room 542
Legislative Office Bldg.
Albany, NY 12248
(518) 455-3821

February 14, 2005

Ortiz Speaks at Connecticut Public Hearing Regard Cell Phone Use While Driving

New York State Assemblyman Felix W. Ortiz spoke today at a public hearing held by the Connecticut House Transportation Committee on the subject of cellular telephone use while driving. Ortiz is the author of the nation’s first ban on cellular telephone use, which took effect in 2001. He joined Representative Richard Roy who is the author of similar legislation proposed in the Connecticut House of Representatives.

"This issue is about insuring the safety of the general public by reducing unneeded driver distractions. It is plain and simple - it’s about saving lives," stated Ortiz.

Every year drivers using cell phones account for as many as 330,000 injuries, 2,600 deaths and 1.5 million instances of property damage. Besides the significant cost of the thousands of lives lost, the nation also loses millions of dollars in increased insurance premiums and the costs associated with responding to countless vehicle accidents. Cell phones account for as many as 8,000 vehicle accidents a day. Since 1993 fatalities due to cell phone use have increased by 800%.

"Since the passage of my legislation, New Jersey as well as our nation’s capital have joined New York in banning the use of cell phones while operating a motor vehicle and I hope Connecticut and the rest of the nation will join us as well. Above all else our nation must put the safety of our citizens first and foremost," continued Ortiz.