IIK Supports Hands-free Cell Phone Use Legislation
Distracted Driving is a Problem
- According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving claimed 3,142 lives in 2019.
- According to the 2020-24 Strategic Highway Safety Plan, 843 of the 3,733 highway fatalities in Kentucky between 2014 and 2018 involved distracted driving – 22 percent of all deaths. The report also states that these numbers likely understate the problem.
- In a January 2022 Mason-Dixon poll, 86% of Kentuckians agree that drivers face more distractions than they did just five years ago.
- Clearly, distracted driving is a problem in KY and in the nation.
Dealing with Distracted Driving
- Activities that take your eyes off the road – looking up a number, dialing the phone, looking at social media – are extremely dangerous, especially at high speeds.
- Texting while driving is currently prohibited in Kentucky, but many activities that distract drivers are not considered texting and are therefore not prohibited.
- The best solution to reduced distracted driving is to require that a cell phone must be used hands-free while driving or when paused for traffic. Twenty states and the District of Columbia have already taken this step. (See the map)
Kentuckians Support a Hands-free Requirement
In a poll conducted in January 2022 by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy, Inc., Kentuckians expressed the following opinions:
- 81% support requiring drivers to use hands-free, voice command technology to make calls and communicate.
- 88% would likely obey a hands-free law. (Very likely 73%, somewhat likely 15%)
- 64% believe that a properly-enforced hands-free law would decrease accidents.
A hands-free law will make KY’s Highways Safer
- All drivers will be required to use hands-free technology for talking on the cell phone. Add-on technology can be used in older cars without Bluetooth at a nominal cost.
- You can use a single swipe for navigation programs or for answering phone calls.
- In addition to texting, viewing videos, or posting on social media would be prohibited.
- Enforcement is phased in: warnings until October 1, then $50 for a first offense, and increasing fines for subsequent offenses.
The key to improving safety is improving driver behavior. Just as seat belts have become second nature, a hands-free law will remind us to avoid distractions.
My seat belt protects me. Hands-free protects all of us.