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WVU receives grant to study effectiveness of driver cellphone bans

Posted On Mon, January 28, 2013

With 10 states having some type of ban on handheld cellphone use at the wheel, two West Virginia lawmakers are making funding available to identify whether these prohibitions have done any good.

West Virginia Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin recently announced that university researchers will be given a $182,000 grant to study the effects of cellphone bans in determining whether these proscriptions have led to fewer accidents.

"Studying the effectiveness of state laws that limit or ban cellphone use while driving is an investment in the safety of our nation's roads," said Rockefeller, who serves as chairman of the Senate's Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. "Distracted driving hurts the driver, passengers, and everyone on the road, and we must do everything we can to prevent it."

Manchin added that West Virginia University is one of the best places in which this type of analysis can be performed. Some of the most worthwhile and effective studies on driver distraction have derived from this institution of higher learning.

"I have no doubt that the research team's thorough examination on cell phone use while driving can impact future laws that will help us make sure our roads we travel on every day are safe," said Manchin.

Though there are a variety of reasons for why auto insurance rates rise or fall, the frequency with which a person gets into an accident may be one of them. Recent analysis has shown that driver distraction is increasingly becoming the leading cause for automotive collisions, particularly among younger drivers.

Survey data reveals that more than 90 percent of young adults admit to having sent a text message while behind the wheel, even though they knew it to be dangerous.

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