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Speaking of cell phones

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DANGEROUS: Cell phone use while driving.
  • DANGEROUS: Cell phone use while driving.

Though new rules governing use of cell phones by younger drivers are about to take effect, the safety of their use by all drivers is a growing concern.

The National Safety Council has begun a campaign against the use of cell phones while driving, and it includes a billboard on I-30 west of Fleming Ave. in Benton, facing west. The photographs are of a 61-year-old woman from Oklahoma and a 12-year-old boy from Michigan, both killed in car crashes by drivers who were using cell phones.

The NSC says, “Drivers who use a cell phone are four times more likely to be in a crash and are responsible for 636,000 crashes and 2,600 deaths a year.” (The figures are estimates from a study done by the Harvard Center of Risk Analysis.)

The Arkansas legislature this year placed restrictions on the use of cell phones, beginning Oct. 1. Texting is prohibited for everyone. Drivers under 18 also are prohibited from talking on cell phones. Drivers 18 to 21 are prohibited from talking on hand-held cell phones.

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