FEB 25 2008

Cell Phones and Risk-Risk Trade-offs

Miscellaneous

Pulling to the curb to make an emergency cell phone call makes sense on most roads at most times, but pulling to the curb isn’t always a practical solution on congested freeways and creates its own nontrivial countervailing risks involving traffic crashes and traffic capacities. There should be room for procedures (individual choice) as well as mandates (laws) in such decision making.

Effective July 1, 2008, all CA drivers who use cell phones must use hands free devices (except for emergencies and drivers of emergency response vehicles) (there’s also a temporary exemption for commercial vehicle drivers until 2011). In addition, no driver under age 18 may use any mobile device in a vehicle (emergency calls exempted) (see, for example, http://www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/cellphone_laws.html ).

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