The ban on driving while using a cell phone in the US state of Oregon has been a big success. However, officials fear that the ‘honeymoon’ could be coming to an end, as motorists slip back to their old ways, once police ease off the pressure.
Car crashes involving cell phones dropped from a hundred and seventy-nine in the first six months of 2009 to ninety-four in the equivalent period last year, while two deaths were linked to cell phone use in the first half of 2009 but none at all in the first half of 2010. Rep Carolyn Tomei D, of Milwauke, was happy to support the law banning the use of cell phones while driving, noting that since it happened, “I’ve heard from several police officers, in fact they’ve made a point of coming to see me in the Capitol, thanking me for passing this law because it makes their job so much easier, they have reported fewer accidents… I’m feeling gratified that I’m safe, my kids are safer”, adding that “We’re driving these huge machines that kill people. I think (the ban) has provided a huge element of safety that we didn’t have before.”
However, some traffic officers fear the ‘honeymoon’ effect of the new law may be wearing off. “We have all seen an increase in usage after an initial ‘honeymoon’ period,” warns Sgt Craig Cunningham of Marion County Sheriff’s Department. “With the advent of smart-phones, people are using them for navigation… this makes for very distracted drivers.”