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More enforcement and regulation towards distracted driving in 2015 (Lebanon)

More enforcement and regulation towards distracted driving in 2015 (Lebanon)

After working for some many years in Lebanon and many other countries, one of YASA’s hopes Globally for the new year is that both individuals and governments will begin taking the problem of distracted driving more seriously, with more responsible behavior by drivers and more restrictions backed up by stronger enforcement and stiffer penalties for non-compliance.

There is no doubt that cellphones have become the principal agent of distracted driving, which has overtaken alcohol and drug impairment as the main cause of traffic accidents. It is a well-documented fact that by just talking on cellphones whether handheld or hands-free while driving increases the likelihood of being involved in a crash or pedestrian collision by four times. This, if compared to alcohol is the equivalent of driving with blood alcohol level of 0.08. While studies at Virginia Tech showed that texting while driving by a mind-numbing factor of 23 times according to a study—much worse than moderate alcohol or drug impairment.

Some other mind blowing figures by The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) says: "distracted driving is now estimated to be a contributing factor in 8 out of 10 police-reported crashes, and texting while driving is now the leading cause of death among U.S. teenagers, surpassing drinking and driving".

Unfortunately, it is very evident that governments are still not taking this phenomenon serious enough. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), as of December, 2014, no U.S. state bans all cell phone use for all drivers, although 38 states and D.C. ban all cell phone use by novice drivers, and 20 states plus D.C. prohibit it for school bus drivers only. Just 14 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving. Arkansas bans use of hand-held cell phones while driving in a school zone or in a highway construction zone, and Texas has banned the use of hand-held phones and texting in school zones.

As for text messaging behind the wheel - while keeping in mind that texting while driving increases crash risk by a factor of 23 - Washington was the first state in 2007 to pass and implement a ban on texting while driving, and currently 44 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers, and five have primary enforcement (which means an officer may cite a driver for texting without any other traffic offense taking place).

Of the six states without an all driver texting ban, four prohibit text messaging by novice drivers and three restrict school bus drivers from texting as secondary enforcement laws, meaning an officer can only issue a ticket if a driver has been pulled over for another violation (like speeding). Apparently, in three states school bus drivers can legally text behind the wheel which is scary to know and should be immediately addressed to help keep our kids safe.

Due to the fact that text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is foe sure the most alarming aspect of driver distraction.


YASA is certainly aware that banning use of cell phones and texting while driving are both essential, however the enforcement is certainly not an easy issue due to several accompanying factors. In spite all of this, our excellent advice to all drivers with no exception, is: "Never use cell phones or other electronic devices while driving, regardless of the current laws in your country."

All around Canadian Provinces, distracted driving laws have been enacted, however this enactment does not ban hands free phone use. YASA find this illogical since there has not been enough studies that show that hands free is less risky than hand held cell use from the perspective of being focused on the road.

There is no doubt that testing while driving is so very dangerous because it simultaneously involves all three main categories of distraction which are manual, visual, and cognitive.

Over and above rulings on the use of cell phone while driving, we still have the other distractions for the driver from the advanced vehicle systems that are being integrated into new vehicles such as internet connected systems, built in GPS and others.

All enforcement agencies do not object to systems which are built in the vehicle while there is no doubt that they do add to distractions for the driver, however the driver is good to go with any built in device.

Talking about built in systems, we get to the issue of touch screens in vehicles which certainly creates a great distraction for the driver due to many factors among which we have:

The location and accessibility for the driver, (driver has to reach out for the screen)

The need to take off the eyes from the road to see the screeen,

The body temperature in some cold countries does not allow screens to respond to cold hands.

YASA fears that the fanciness of such new technologies in vehicles is pushing the decision makers to avoid actions that would help save lives and having said that, we fear that we will continue to see an increase in road deaths related to distracted driving.

To conclude what has been said, YASA calls on stricter enforcement, better laws and more respect to human lives.

Lebanon , Cell Phone & Driving

Date: 1/7/2015 10:28:27 AM

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Cell Phone & Driving

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