Those looking forward to the July 1st introduction of a teenage cell
phone ban in California should start looking elsewhere for comfort. An
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study released on Monday, which
took a look at the results of a 2006 North Carolina ban for drivers
younger than age 18, showed that teenagers were just as likely to chat
on the phone after the ban went into effect as before.
Targeting inexperienced motorists, several states have passed laws during the past five years restricting cell phone use by teenage drivers.
But an insurance industry study being released Monday that looked at whether teens are ignoring such restrictions contends enforcement and parental influence are just as important as new laws.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety studied North Carolina's law, enacted in 2006, which fines motorists under age 18 who are caught using a cell phone.
Researchers who watched as high school students left school found that teenage drivers used their cell phones at about the same rate both before and after the law took effect. In South Carolina, which does not have a similar restriction, cell phone use by teenage drivers was about the same for both periods studied.
California is facing a budget crunch. Here's our suggestion: when July 1st rolls around, make sure the CHP rigorously enforces both the hands-free law and this one. Instant revenue.