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Recently my partner, Joe Crumley, discussed the Minnesota law changes with text massaging and the studies behind that law. The concern is that people shouldn’t be sending or receiving messages at the same time they are driving. Other members of the Injuryboard have documented for some time the accidents that have been caused by drivers on cellphones.

In discussing a cell phone ban in Tennessee, The Tennessean published some additional information that has to be considered:

>> One Harvard University study estimates 2,600 people die each year in the U.S. in crashes caused by talking on the phone or texting while driving.

>> A 2006 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that nearly 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-accidents occur within three seconds of some form of driver distraction, with cell-phone use being the most common distraction.

>> In Tennessee, motorist accidents related to cell phones rose each year from 2003 to 2006. While the number declined slightly in 2007, the numbers for that year have yet to be updated to include all accidents, according to The Associated Press.

These findings are why the AMA is calling for all states to look at laws that limit cell phone use for all drivers. It is getting clearer all the time that all states should be doing what they can to make sure the roads are safe.

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