Debora Ganz, B.A.
This issue is a perfect example of a public health issue that is regulated largely by political and economic forces.
Due to the Federal Preemption laws which are the laws that “prohibit localities from enacting such laws” to ban cell phone use while driving, there are a handful of states that simply cannot prohibit cell phone use while driving unless there is a federal mandate.
Economically, this may not happen due to the fact that the regulation of cell phone use by states was enacted (and is maintained) primarily due to economic market factors (See http://mason.gmu.edu/~thazlett/pubs/Fed.Preempt.FCLJ.12.03.pdf).
It is an unfortunate reality that so many seemingly ‘common sense’ public health problems such as banning cell phone use while driving are either not enacted or not fully enforced due to similar political and economic factors. This realization should encourage health care professionals to become more vocal in local and federal political forms to best implement a holistic solution.
This is a commentary on the article, “Cell phones and driving” by Leo Sher, M.D. published on our website, www.internetandpsychiatry.com