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 |  May 26 2010, 7:47 AM


Heading out on a road tip this summer that will take you across state lines? Before you head out, do a little prep work and find out if the state you’re visiting has any safety laws you may not be aware of.

An important and trendy hot topic this summer has to be bans on cell phones. The list for states that have banned texting and talking on a cell phone while driving is growing. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has up-to-date information on where it’s ok to call for directions while behind the wheel, and all the states where you’ll get slapped with a hefty fine if you’re caught yakking.

The rise in cell phone bans comes from the rise in car accidents where distracted drivers are cited as the cause. In 2008 almost 6,000 people died and more than half a million people were injured on U.S. roads in crashes that involved distracted drivers. The term distracted driving can be defined as anything that takes the driver’s hands off the wheel or eyes off the road for more than two seconds or interrupts concentration.

While talking on a cell phone is distracting enough, texting is even worse. This is because it involves three things that distract drivers the most: visual (looking away from the road), manual (punching keys on a wireless device), and cognitive (reading or composing a text message).

Another great site to check regarding safety laws is the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). Here, you’ll find a state-by-state summary of vehicle safety laws, including child safety seats, speed and red-light cameras, and drunk driving.