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Study: Distracted Driving Deaths Down Since California’s Cell Phone Ban

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — California’s law banning drivers from using handheld cell phones is saving lives.

That’s according to a new University of California, Berkeley study which crunched the numbers before and after the state had banned drivers from using handheld devices four years ago.

The study, which was released Monday, found that deaths blamed on drivers using cell phones were cut almost in half while overall traffic deaths decreased 22 percent.

A spokesman for the State Department, which commissioned the research, says the findings prove California made the right decision banning handheld cell phones in 2008 and texting the following year.

“What we think is happening is that people are understanding that it’s dangerous to use a cell phone, talk on a cell phone, text, check your Facebook page,” said Chris Cochran of California Office of Traffic Safety.

Edward Lawrence, reporting for CBS2 and KCAL9, says 84 percent of people in the study say texting and talking on a cell phone are the most serious distractions while behind the wheel.

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