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Cellphone use and driving in Montana

Regardless of where you are driving, there is nothing more important than keeping your eyes on the road and your attention on what is going on around you at all times.

At this time, Montana is the only state in the U.S. that does not have any sort of ban on cellphone usage while driving. Between the years of 2004 and 2013, data compiled by the Montana Highway Patrol shows that in more than 1,600 vehicular accidents, cellphone usage by the driver was a contributing factor to the accident.

A sergeant for the Montana Highway Patrol said, "It's no secret that if you're using your cellphone, your attention is being distracted from the roadway." But Montana has yet to make it a priority to enact statewide laws that could help make the roads safer for everybody.

Forty-four states have a total ban on texting while driving, while many others only ban this if the driver is inexperienced or young. Even though lawmakers in the state have proposed legislation banning this activity, it has gone nowhere.

Fortunately, there are municipal ordinances throughout the state that protect against this dangerous activity. Some of the cities and counties banning cellphone use while behind the wheel include Billings, Butte, Bozeman, Silver Bow, Great Falls, Hamilton, Helena and Whitefish.

There are many times when a car accident is the result of a distracted driver. Despite statistics showing the risk of cellphone usage while driving, the state of Montana continues to lag behind the rest of the country. Perhaps that may change next year during the legislative session, as one senator plans to propose a bill to ban it.

Source: ABC Fox Montana, "Montana Only State without Ban on Cell Phone Use While Driving" Emily Foster, Jun. 12, 2014

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