Montana: Cell phone laws, legislation
Last updated: August 2, 2011 · Print this reportDrivers in Butte are now prohibited from using cell phones and other handheld electronic devices. Ticketing began June 16.
Roughly 90 percent of Americans own cell phones, and it's estimated that 80 percent of drivers use cell phones while driving. That's why, at any given moment, as many as 1.8 million drivers are chatting on a cell phone.
Here are 5 reasons to hang up and drive.
#1: It's Illegal
Talking on a hand-held cell phone is illegal for all drivers in 10 states and Washington, D.C. For novice drivers, cell phone usage while driving is banned in 30 states. Text messaging while driving is banned for all drivers in 34 states.
Cell phone restrictions are primary enforcement in most states, which means drivers can be stopped and ticketed for talking on a cell phone without committing any other infraction.
#2: It's Dangerous
Drivers who talk on cell phones while driving are four times as likely to cause a crash as other drivers. In fact, a study from the University of Utah found that chatty drivers are as dangerous as drunk drivers (.08 percent blood alcohol).
#3: It's Deadly
In 2009, 5,474 Americans were killed in distracted driving-related crashes. Of those, 995 deaths -- 18 percent -- were directly related to cell phone usage.
Despite the dangers, at any given time, 6 percent of all drivers and 10 percent of teens are talking on a cell phone while driving.
#4: It Sets a Bad Example
Teen drivers are dangerous enough without distractions, but too many parents are setting a dangerous precedent for their children. If you think chatting while driving isn't a big deal, think about the day your child gets a driver's license -- would you feel safe if they were chatting and driving at the same time?
#5: It'll Cost You
Even if cell phone usage isn't illegal in your state, talking or texting behind the wheel will eventually cost you. Why? Because distracted driving leads to tickets and accidents.
As stated earlier, drivers on cell phones are four times more likely to cause accidents than other drivers. A speeding ticket or fender bender could send your car insurance premium soaring, especially if your driving record isn't perfect to begin with.