PPIC Cell Phones Study by topflite9822

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									   STATE CAPITOL                                                                                           DISTRICT OFFICE
SACRAMENTO, CA 95814
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Senator.Simitian@sen.ca.gov                                                                                SATELLITE OFFICE
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http://www.sen.ca.gov/simitian                                                                                 (831) 425-0401
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                                                       SENATOR
                                              S. JOSEPH SIMITIAN
                                              ELEVENTH SENATE DISTRICT




                FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
                May 13, 2008

                For More Information, Contact:
                Sarah Mason at (916) 651-4011


                                 PPIC RESEARCH SHOWS HANDS-FREE LAW A LIFESAVER


                SACRAMENTO – State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) announced today that research
                conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) estimates 300-900 lives will be
                saved annually once California’s hands-free cell phone law goes into effect.


                “We now know from the experience of three other states and the District of Columbia that we’ll
                be saving hundreds of lives a year once California’s hands-free law takes effect,” said Simitian.
                While the PPIC study did not assess the impact on non-fatal injury accidents and property
                damage, Simitian said he estimates the new law will result in “several thousand fewer injury
                accidents” and “tens of thousands fewer accidents involving property damage.”


                The PPIC report looked at data from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and the District of
                Columbia, each of which has a hands-free law. While previous studies have attempted to assess
                the benefit of hands-free technology, the PPIC examined the actual impact of hands-free laws on
                fatal traffic accidents using real data from those states which have already enacted a hands-free
                law.
“Drivers make real-time decisions that can’t be measured in a lab,” said Jed Kolko, Research
Fellow at PPIC and the author of What To Expect From California’s New Hands-Free Law.
“They decide whether and when to use their phones. The question is how these laws might
change drivers’ likelihood of using any mobile phone, whether it’s handheld or hands-free.”

As Simitian noted, “When PPIC looked at traffic data from the three states and the District of
Columbia, it was clear that every one of the jurisdictions with a hands-free law had significantly
reduced traffic fatalities.”

Simitian’s SB 1613, which takes effect July 1, requires California drivers who choose to use a
cell phone while driving to use a hands-free device. The bill allows exemptions for persons
calling law enforcement or public safety agencies, as well as emergency services personnel
driving authorized vehicles.

“Cell phones are the number one cause of distracted-driving accidents in California,” said
Simitian. “And accidents by drivers using hand-held cell phones outnumber those driving hands-
free by a ratio of something like 15 to one. The difference between hands-free and hand-held is
the difference between life and death.”


Penalties for violating the new law are modest: $20 for a first offense and $50 for a second and
subsequent offense. Once administrative fees and court costs are factored in, however, violators
will pay around $75 for a first offense and around $175 for a second and subsequent offense.


“I introduced the bill for one simple reason,” said Simitian. “It will save lives. No one would
argue that just because we can’t eliminate all the distractions affecting driver safety, we
shouldn’t eliminate the ones we can. We have a readily available technology that costs next to
nothing and saves lives. Why on earth wouldn’t we use it?”


Simitian’s SB 33, which prohibits drivers under the age of 18 from using a cell phone at all, also
takes effect on July 1, 2008.


For more information about SB 1613, please visit www.senatorsimitian.com
For more information about the PPIC study “What To Expect From California’s New Hands-
Free Law”, please visit www.ppic.org



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