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Last updated 12:47PM ET
August 20, 2018
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Counting Santa Fe drivers on cell phones (Podcast)
(KSFR) - -- It's against the law, but our reporters find that a lot of Santa Fe drivers are still using hand held cell phones.

KSFR's Dan Garrity and Erin Brooks were staked out the busy intersection of Cerrillos Rd. and St. Francis Drive to count how many people went by in just one direction holding cell phones.

Result: They counted 65 people in a 60 minute period. That's more than one per minute.

A Santa Fe city council proposal to increase fines for drivers caught using a hand-held cell phone appears to be on hold, at least for now. Since the city enacted an ordinance against talking, driving and holding in 2003, city police have averaged fewer than five citations a day.

KSFR also spoke with University of Utah researcher Frank Drews who says his work indicates that cognitive distraction while talking and driving (whether or not hand-held or hands-free)is the equivalent of driving under the influence.

Russ Rader of the national Insurance Institute for Highway Safety explains other studies. One of them shows that use of cell phones while driving can increase the risk of car crashes four-fold.
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