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STUDY FINDS HALF OF AMERICANS SUPPORT BAN ON CAR PHONE USE

VALLEY FORGE, Pa.-Nearly half of Americans surveyed indicated they would support legislation banning cellular phone use while driving, according to a nationwide survey sponsored by the Colonial Penn Safe Driver Center.

Of those in favor of a ban, 82 percent do not own a cellular phone, the survey said.

“Driving a car, especially on today’s congested roadways, requires your total attention,” said Caroline Metz, director of the Colonial Penn Safe Driving Center. “There’s no doubt that negotiating a business transaction or having a domestic dispute while negotiating a turn is a significant driver distraction.”

Despite the strong support for a ban on cellular phone use while driving, most of those surveyed indicated cellular phones offer some important safety benefits.

Insurance providers also are concerned about the impact of cell phone use while driving, the report said.

“It is difficult to determine the exact relationship between cellular phone use and auto claims because many drivers are reluctant to admit they were using their cell phone when the collision occurred,” said William Breslin, senior vice president of claims, Colonial Penn Insurance Co. “Americans are engaged in a love affair with the cellular car phone. When used responsibly, these devices have a place in our society.

“But if the trend toward increased risk of accidents while talking on a cell phone continues, it will place a greater burden on all drivers in the form of higher insurance rates,” he added.

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