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For years, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said he felt a federal ban on cell phone use while driving was unnecessary. Now, LaHood is proposing a nationwide ban on all talking and texting on cell phones while driving everywhere in the U.S. on every roadway.

To date, 38 states already have bans on the use of cell phones and other portable electronic devices while driving, including hands-free devices, but cell phone use behind the wheel is still an epedemic. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that annually 3,000 fatal accidents are the result of distracted driving – texting, talking on a cell phone, eating, operating a GPS or the radio, and applying make-up or shaving, to name a few. Studies have shown that using a cell phone while driving can delay reaction times as much as a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08, yet most people wouldn’t put talking on the phone in the same category as driving drunk.

Legal remedies for dangerous driving behavior have traditionally been left to the states. While some say that states should simply enforce state laws, others say those laws are not working. Supporters of a nationwide ban said that stricter penalties will force drivers to pay attention while opponents like the National Motorists Association say the best way to address the problem is through education. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is also against the federal ban and says more focus should be on technologies that help motorists avoid accidents — such as automatic braking — because it would help prevent accidents no matter what distracts drivers. Is education and technology the answers or is this just removing driver responsibilty?

If state bans have not stopped this dangerous behavior, will a federal ban? Is it time for a nationwide ban on cell phone use while driving? What do you think is needed to get drivers to hang up the phone and focus on the road?

Mark Bello has thirty-five years experience as a trial lawyer and thirteen years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide legal finance cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by a plaintiff involved in pending, personal injury, litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Member of Public Justice and Public Citizen, Business Associate of the Florida, Mississippi, Connecticut, Texas, and Tennessee Associations for Justice, and Consumers Attorneys of California, member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.

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