Sign of the times: A ban on cell phones while driving?

Posted by: Bryan Henry - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Hannah Lane will be the first to admit she can't help it. She not only talks on the phone while she drives, she sends a few text messages as well.

"Talking on the phone in the car is a lot easier for me when I can actually talk in private," she explained.

She does it despite the 7 words that pop up every few seconds on the road signs on Interstates 65 and 85. 'Put Down The Phone In Work Zones' means very little to this 21-year old, yet Lane concedes there's an inherent danger in not doing so.

"It's dangerous and I should be more aware when I'm driving but I'm still careful and I try to be safe as possible," she said.

According to a study done by the University of Alabama, there were more than 2,200 crashes in work zones in Alabama in 2007. Of those crashes, there were 35 fatalities and over 700 injuries. That same study did not specifically say whether talking on the cell phones caused the wrecks, but not paying attention was one of the reasons.

Alabama does not have a law against driving and talking on the cell phone or texting, although state lawmakers are considering a bill now on that very topic.

Before today Lane was not aware of the interstate signs, and she says she doubts she would have paid attention to them whether she was on the phone or not.

"I didn't see them. It's not being rude," she said. "I just don't remember seeing them."

In one study conducted by Nationwide Insurance, a survey of 1,200 drivers found that 73% of them talk on the cell phone and drive.

Mississippi has just passed a law banning teenagers from texting while driving and 8 states have already passed laws that ban texting and driving for all adults.