Welcome to Constable Precinct 5. Today is

HOME CONTACT INFO OUR SERVICES FEES ABOUT US POLICIES CONSTABLE HISTORY FORMS CONNECTIONS DEPUTY CENTRAL
EXPERTS IN CIVIL PROCESS CLASS C WARRANTS DISABLED PARKING VOLUNTEER PROGRAM CONSTABLE'S NOTEBOOK PHOTO GALLERY CN5 IN THE NEWS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RESOURCES
Constable Carlos Lopez and his deputies assist the citizens and courts of Travis County

Carlos B. Lopez, Constable

Travis County Courthouse Complex


24/7 Civil Process Service Check

Enter to Search by Cause No. or Name

Cause:

Name: 

Helpful tips for finding the correct listing
Bruce Elfant

Bruce Elfant

Notebook Archives



Constable's Notebook - March 2009

Eleven bills have so far been filed by legislators to restrict or prohibit the use of cell phones while driving. The proposals range from an outright ban, to requiring users to be at least 18 years old, prohibiting cell phone use in school zones, or limiting use to hands-free operation. No state currently bans all types of cell phone use but five states currently ban the use of hand-held cell phones while driving, 17 states ban use by novice drivers (under 18), seven states ban text messaging, and nine states ban use by school bus drivers. Eight states actually prohibit cities and counties from enacting any bans on cell phone use while driving.

Last year about 29,000 people died in traffic accidents in the U.S. According to the Harvard Center of Risk Analysis, cell phone use while driving resulted in about 600,000 injuries and 2,600 deaths in 2002. The National Safety Council reports that people who talk on cell phones while driving are four times more likely to be involved in a collision. A recent study conducted by the University of Utah reported that drivers who text message are six times more likely to become involved in an accident. While most Americans believe that use of hands-free cell phones are far safer, several studies including a 2008 study by AAA did not find that the use of hands-free cell phones was statistically any safer. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration found that drivers using cell phones were more likely to rear end the car ahead of them and were slower to brake or to accelerate after braking. In 2001 the Texas Department of Transportation documented more than 1,000 accidents involving cell phone use. By 2007 that number had more than tripled.

Opponents of enacting cell phone restrictions argue that accidents involving the use of cell phones comprise less than 10% of those caused by the use of alcohol. One opponent cited a Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study that found cell phone use while driving is a distraction but less so than some other common distractions that are not regulated such as eating, putting on make-up, fumbling for CDs or even reading. They argue that all conduct should not be regulated and that attempts to do so infringe on the legal rights of motorists.

We all know that the use of cell phones distracts drivers from focusing on driving to at least some degree. According to the AAA study, 83% of respondents view drivers using cell phones as a serious or extremely serious problem. Yet nearly half of these drivers admitted that they regularly use cell phones while driving.

Before June 2009, the Texas Legislature will consider these bills and determine whether they believe the hazards involving the cell phone use while driving are serious enough to restrict or even prohibit their use on Texas roads. Let me know what you think at bruce.elfant@co.travis.tx.us.



Video Icon

Watch a video How Travis County Constables help in our communities

Video Icon

Watch a video Constable 5 Wins Award for Domestic Violence Initiative

Learn more Stop teen dating violence