Killer Cell Phones: Why Honeybees Are Dying Worldwide

Have you heard the news? In just the last ten years or so, the world’s honeybee population has taken a huge dive-and nobody seems to know why. I found this out myself recently by reading an article called “Bees Feel the Sting: The buzz on the worldwide decline in honeybee populations,” which appeared as the lead story in the September/October 2011 issue of Science Illustrated. According to this article, a group of French biologists is attaching tiny microchips to honeybees to track their daily behavior patterns in an effort to learn what’s killing them. Suspected causes of the unprecedented global honeybee dieoff include pests, predators, disease, pesticide sprays, climate change, and mobile phones. One single factor can be enough to do the bees in, as researcher Cedric Alaux of the Laboratoire Biologie et Protection de l’abeille admitted to Science Illustrated: “We cannot rule out that there is one single factor behind it all that influences the bees in a negative way.”

To identify that factor, the key question we should ask is: What on earth has changed so drastically in the last ten years that would cause billions of honeybees to perish? There has been no drastic change in nature or the global environment that can adequately explain this occurrence. Honeybee pests and predators have been around for centuries, and although their numbers have fluctuated, their populations have not exploded recently as far as I know. Diseases have similarly come and gone. Our climate has been changing recently, but not so drastically or in such a short time period as to explain the mass disappearance of a single insect species.

Thus we can reasonably rule out any natural causes for the world’s honeybee population plunge, and it makes sense to look for the culprit among possible artificial (i.e. manmade) causes. Although pesticide sprays have been in use for decades, their worldwide use has not increased dramatically in recent years; if anything, it has declined as the popularity of organic farming continues to grow.

The only other suspected manmade cause of the honeybees’ death is mobile phones (i.e. cell phones)-or, more precisely, the radio waves emitted by cell phones. Here we’re on to something, because in the last ten years the world’s use of cellular telephones has exploded dramatically, and an ever-growing global network of transmitter towers established to meet this demand now continuously fills much of the Earth’s air with a thick invisible web of electromagnetic radiation. Moreover, the negative effects of this artificial radiation on living organisms are already well known and documented by scientists. (Take, for example, the well-established link between increased cell phone use and increased rates of human brain cancer.) Furthermore, the steepest declines in honeybee populations have been observed in the United States and Europe-where use of mobile phones is greater than anywhere else in the world.

Nothing matches the worldwide decline in honeybee population like the worldwide increase in cellular telephone transmissions during the same time frame. Thus, it is reasonable to draw a link between the two and theorize that the former is the main cause of the latter.

But, some might say, the basis for this supposed theory is rather circumstantial. Is there any real, convincing evidence for it? Yes, there is. In a study conducted last year, researchers at Panjab University in Chandigarh, India fitted cell phones to a beehive and activated them twice a day for 15 minutes each. Within three months, honey production had ceased, the queen laid half as many eggs, and the hive population had fallen significantly.

But the effect of mobile phone towers on bees is even more drastic than that of individual phones. Barbara Hughes, a columnist for the Catholic Virginian who has been visiting the Franciscan monastery at Mission San Luis Rey in California, recently visited a Benedictine abbey near the mission. She related the following in the August 22, 2011 edition of the paper:

One of the monks, who has been a bee keeper at the Abbey for 40 years, explained how until numerous cell phone towers were constructed on the back of their property, he had been collecting 100 gallons of honey a week.

But as the use of cell phones expanded, all of his bees died within a few weeks until he discovered a small area near the base of the hill where he could not get cell phone service. Once he moved his hives to that particular area, the bees once again began to thrive and reproduce.

This anecdote is a graphic example of the danger that mobile phone radiation poses to honeybees. The radiation may be interfering with the bees’ built-in navigational systems, disorienting them and preventing them from finding their way back to their hives, as many researchers think. Or it may be killing them in a more direct fashion. However it works, it’s clear that radio waves from cell phones are lethal to bees. Additional future studies will continue to confirm and bear this out.

The typical cell phone transmitter tower is a veritable beehive of electromagnetic activity. At any given moment it can be sending and receiving the radio transmissions of 10 to 25 different phone calls. A whole row of transmitter towers can process thousands of calls simultaneously. Try to imagine what all the radio waves from all the towers just in your local area would look like, filling the air all around you. If we had the capability to see radio waves, we would be blown away. Thus cell phone towers pose a much more serious threat to living organisms than individual phones because they emit much more concentrated doses of radiation. When we consider that the radiation of a single mobile phone can cause brain cancer in a human being at an early age, it’s not difficult to imagine the deadly effect that thousands of times that radiation would have on a much smaller living creature.

In fact, the gradual, slight decline in world honeybee populations observed over the course of the twentieth century (which preceded the current precipitous decline) was probably due to the gradual establishment of radio stations and transmitters all over the world. Moreover, it is possible that radio waves crisscrossing our atmosphere from Earth-orbiting communications satellites as well as from more recently developed GPS satellites, satellite radio systems, and especially wireless Internet systems, all play minor contributing roles in the current honeybee population crisis. The lesson to be learned from this is that radio waves kill bees–and the world’s more than five billion mobile telephones combined generate more artificial radio emissions by far than all other currently operating high-tech inventions on Earth put together. See “List of countries by number of cell phones in use,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_number_of_mobile_phones_in_use

The typical modern handheld cell phone is a staple of globalized twenty-first century life-and it’s not hard to understand why. It’s a technological wonder, a marvel of electronic miniaturization and digital engineering, and a powerful tool of communication and entertainment whose convenience can’t be beat. With it we can not only send and receive calls but also text messages and emails; we can take pictures, make audio recordings, store textual information, listen to music, access the Internet (and all that that entails), watch videos, read e-books, play games-the capabilities are endless. Cell phones allow us to stay connected like nothing else. Who ever thought this nifty little multi-purpose gadget would pose a threat to the environment?

It’s unfortunate, but true: Within just the last ten years, the increasingly widespread and heavy global use of these handy devices has placed the world’s honeybee population at risk. We are literally buzzing the bees out of existence. Meanwhile, the global pace of construction of new mobile phone towers continues unabated, and worldwide cell phone transmissions continue increasing by the day, filling the Earth’s atmosphere with more and more artificial radio waves. If this trend continues into the next few years, we can expect further drastic reductions in the global honeybee population.

What would happen if honeybees became extinct? We would lose a lot more than just good-tasting natural honey. Honeybees play a critical role in the world’s food chain: they pollinate 75 percent of all the crops consumed by humans, many of which are also consumed by animals. Thus the extinction of honeybees would precipitate a global food crisis of almost unthinkable proportions. I don’t think any of us want to see that happen! Human survival is dependent on the survival of honeybees.

Given the enormity of the stakes involved, it is imperative that we take decisive measures soon to protect the endangered honeybees. This is not like trying to save the Pyrenean Ibex, the Golden Toad, the Javan Tiger, or the Alaotra Grebe (a bird of Madagascar that was officially declared extinct last year). All of these animal species have become extinct since the conservation movement began, but due to their isolated habitats and limited distribution, their extinction had little if any impact on the overall global food chain. The extinction of the honeybee would be an entirely different matter. Because of its worldwide distribution and the key role this little insect plays in crop growth, its demise would be catastrophic for a large percentage of life on earth.

So what can we do to save the honeybees? Here are a few ideas:

1) Spread the word. Tell everyone you know about what you’ve learned in this article. The more people who know about it, the better.

2) Use your cell phone less. Keep it turned off most of the time if you can. Note that you don’t have to make a call to send destructive radiation through the air-just turning the unit on will do that.

3) Buy land phones, which don’t emit harmful radio waves, for your home and office, and use your mobile phone for calls only when away from those places. A cordless land phone offers the best of both worlds-it allows more mobility than a traditional corded land telephone but emits less harmful radiation than a cell phone.

4) At the local level, cities, counties and states could pass ordinances and laws preventing the construction of additional cell phone towers in certain areas (as long as this does not conflict with federal law).

5) Since honeybees continue to flourish in areas without mobile phone service, it would make common sense for the governments of individual countries (especially in the United States and Europe) to review their existing communications policies and enact stricter nationwide regulations for cell phone transmissions.

6) Since more than 9 in 10 Americans now own mobile phones See “List of countries by number of cell phones in use,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_number_of_mobile_phones_in_use, a permanent nationwide moratorium on the construction of new cell phone towers should be seriously considered.

7) Our federal government could build on the model of the National Radio Quiet Zone, a 13,000-square-mile area straddling the Virginia-West Virginia border that was set aside in 1958 to protect the National Radio Astronomy Observatory from unwanted manmade radio interference. Within this zone, artificial radio transmissions, including cell phone services, are limited but not entirely eliminated. Similar protected zones could be established in America’s sprawling, thinly-populated agricultural regions (such as in the middle states and parts of California) where cell phone services are less in demand and where honeybees are especially needed to pollinate the crops that feed much of the world.

Such efforts to curtail cellular phone transmissions, for the good of honeybees and for our own good, will likely be met with powerful opposition from the big mobile phone companies like AT&T and Verizon. These huge businesses make a killing on cell phones, netting hundreds of billions of dollars annually, so their multibillionaire kings will not take kindly the least threat to the continued expansion of their global empire. They don’t really care what happens to the bees (or to us) as long as they can keep their annual profits swelling. Thus they’ll conveniently deny any connection between cell phone use and declining bee rates (just as they denied that there was any connection between cell phone use and brain cancer). But such opposition shouldn’t discourage us–because denying an inconvenient truth doesn’t make it go away.

Are Cell Phones Causing Cancer?

In 1993, a man filed a lawsuit against the cell phone industry, claiming that his wife died from a brain tumor caused by her repeated use of the cell phone. The tumor was on the same side of the head where she held her cell phone and was shaped like the cell phone antenna. The case got widespread media attention and was featured in CNN’s Larry King show.

Although the claim was dismissed by the court due to lack of sufficient evidence, it was a public relations nightmare for the wireless industry. It also marked the beginning of the global search for a definitive answer to the question: are cell phones safe or not? Does it cause cancer and other degenerative diseases? Brain cancer is up 25% since cell phones became popular. Every year, there are 183,000 more cases in the US alone. Some health experts say there’s a link with cell phone use, but is there proof?

In an effort to diffuse the negative publicity from the high-profile lawsuit, the cell phone industry itself funded a $25 million dollar research program to prove that cell phones are safe. After 6 years of intensive research, however, the results were not what they were looking for. Dr. George Carlo, the chief research scientist of the program, found evidence that cell phones pose some health risks, possibly even cancer.

The first evidence of cancer link that shook the cell phone industry came in 1997. Dr. Michael Repacholi and his colleagues from the Royal Adelaide Hospital in South Australia reported that long-term exposure to the type of radiation that comes from digital cell phones caused an increase in the occurrence of lymphoma in mice. The study received widespread international media attention because it was the first time that cancer has been linked to the cell phone in a well-conducted study.

THE RED FLAGS: SOLVING THE CANCER PUZZLE
In order to show a link between cell phone radiation and cancer, let’s look at several studies Dr. Carlo investigated that made him blow the whistle, so to speak. These red-flag findings provide the pieces that fit together to form the cancer picture:

– DNA Damage in Human Blood Studies
– Breakdown in the Blood-Brain Barrier
– Studies of Tumors in People Who Use Cell Phones
– Studies of Cell Phone Radiation Dosage and Response

DNA DAMAGE IN HUMAN BLOOD
All tumors and all cancers are the result of genetic damage. Most often that damage includes the formation of micronuclei–fragments of chromosomes that form membranes around themselves and appear under a microscope as additional nuclei in blood cells (which normally have just a single nucleus). The relationship between micronuclei and cancer is so strong that doctors around the world test for their presence to identify patients likely to develop cancer. The presence of micronuclei indicates that the cells can no longer properly repair broken DNA. This deficiency is considered to be an indication of an increased risk of developing cancer.

– In December 1998, Drs. Ray Tice and Graham Hook of Integrated Laboratory Systems in North Carolina have shown that blood cells exposed to cell phone radiation suffer genetic damage in the form of micronuclei. In their studies, DNA and chromosome damage in human white blood cells occurred when exposed to signals from all types of phones–analog, digital, and PCS. Damage was shown even from signals occurring at a SAR level below the government’s “safety” guideline.

– Using different methods, the above finding was confirmed by Dr. Joseph Roti Roti of Washington University in St. Louis in 2000. His research showed that human blood cells exposed to radiation at wireless phone frequencies did indeed develop genetic damage, in the form of micronuclei. This finding received a lot of notice because Dr. Roti Roti is a prominent scientist who does hiw work under funding by Motorola Inc.

This has a very serious implication. If cell phone radiation encourages the formation of micronuclei in blood cells, and micronuclei are said to be “biological markers” for cancer, then based on these studies alone cell phone use could be said to increase the risk of cancer

BREAKDOWN IN THE BLOOD BRAIN BARRIER
The blood brain barrier is a special filter in the blood vessels of the brain that keeps dangerous chemicals from reaching sensitive brain tissue and causing DNA breaks and other damage.

– In 1994 and again, in 2002, Dr. Leif Salford from Lund University in Stockholm, Sweden found in his studies that rats exposed to cell phone radiation showed a breakdown in the blood brain barrier, as well as areas of shrunken, damaged neurons.

The micronuclei studies of Tice, Hook and Roti Roti and the blood-brain findings of Salford provide a two-step explanation for how cancer could be caused by cell phone radiation.

Step One: A leakage or breakdown in the blood brain barrier would provide a pathway for cancer-causing chemicals in the bloodstream (from tobacco, pesticides, air pollution, etc.) to leak into the brain and damage sensitive brain tissue that would otherwise be protected. These chemicals could break the DNA in the brain or cause other harm to reach those cells.

Step Two: While a number of studies showed that cell phone radiation by itself does not appear to break DNA, the micronuclei findings suggest that they do impair the DNA repair mechanisms in brain cells. Micronuclei result from a breakdown of the cell’s ability to repair itself. If the brain cells become unable to repair themselves, then carcinogenesis–the creation of tumors–induced by chemical toxins could begin.

DNA carries the genetic material of an organism and its different cells. Any damage that goes unrepaired affects the future generation of cells. The change has procreated and this mutation is seen as a possible cause of cancer.

TUMORS IN PEOPLE WHO USE CELL PHONES
Epidemiological studies, performed by different investigators using different methods, show some evidence of an increased risk of tumors among people who use cellular phones.

– In 1998, Dr. Ken Rothman of Eidemiology Resources, Inc. in Newton, Mass., did a study showing that users of handheld cell phones have more than twice the risk of dying from brain cancer than do car phone users–whose antennas are mounted on the body of the car, far removed from the users’ heads.

– In 1998, Joshua Muscat, a research scientist from the American Health Foundation, showed in his study a doubling of the risk of developing neuro-epithelial tumors on the outside of the brain among cell phone users, particularly on the side of the skull where cell phone antennas are held during calls.

– Muscat also showed in another study that people who have used cell phones for six years or more have a 50-percent increase in risk of developing acoustic neuroma, a benign tumor of the nerve that controls hearing and extends from the ear to the brain. Acoustic neuromas can cause hearing loss and can be life-threatening if untreated.

This was confirmed in a separate study in Stockholm, Sweden by Anders Ahlbom in 2004 and sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO), which finds that people who have used cell phones, this time for at least 10 years, may have an increased risk of developing acoustic neuroma.

– In a study also requested by WHO, researchers headed by Dr. Lennart Hardell of the Orebro Medical Center in Sweden examined 1,617 patients aged between 20 and 80 who had been diagnosed with a brain tumour between 1997 and 2000. They were then compared to healthy people. Those who used cell phones for less than 10 years faced a 20% higher risk of developing brain cancer. But for those who used them for more than a decade the risk was 80% higher. The study also found that tumours were 2.5 times more likely to be on the same side of the head as the phone was held. The cancer of the auditory nerve, acoustic neuroma, showed a larger increase–3.5 times greater risk.

CELL PHONE RADIATION DOSAGE AND RESPONSE
All studies mentioned showed that an increase in cell phone radiation exposure also increases the likelihood of the adverse effect occurring.

In Repacholi’s study of mice, the risk of lymphoma increased significantly the longer the mice were exposed to the radio waves.

In the research work done by Tice, Hook, and Roti Roti, the risks of genetic damage as measured by micronuclei formation increased as the amount of radiation increased.

In the three epidemoiological studies–two by Muscat and one by Hardell–the risk of tumors was greater in the areas of the brain near where the cell phone was held.

In Salford’s study, the higher the radiation exposure level the rats were exposed to, the more damage was apparent in the blood vessels in the brain and the neurons.

THE BIG CANCER PICTURE
The test tube studies by Tice and Hook; the mouse study by Repacholoi and Selford; and the epidemiological studies by Rothman, Muscat, and Hardell all agree in that they suggest an increased risk of cancer among cell phone users. They fit together to form the beginnings of a picture that everyone can see. They perhaps don’t form the complete picture yet, but there are enough already in place to see that there is cause fo genuine public health concern about cell phone safety.

According to Dr. Carlo, “The big picture is disturbingly clear. There is a definite risk that the radiation plume that emanates from a cell phone antenna can cause cancer and other health problems. It is a risk that affects hundreds of millions of people around the world. It is a risk that must be seen and understood by all who use cell phones so they can take all the appropriate and available steps to protect themselves–and especially to protect young children whose skulls are still growing and who are the most vulnerable to the risks of radiation.”

MORE PIECES COMING
– In 2000, a team of Sydney researchers published a scientific hypothesis about how mobile phone radiation causes cancer. The report claims that the radiation generated by cell phones causes ongoing stress to the body cells, causing them to give off ‘heat shock proteins (HSP).’ The human cells sometimes release these proteins in response to injury or infection. Such a chronic activation of the heat shock response affects the normal regulation of cells, which could result in cancer.

– In 2002, cell biologist Fiorenzo Marinelli and his team at the National Research Council in Bologna, Italy, exposed leukemia cells to continuous radio waves similar to that of cell phones. The exposed cells had a higher rate of death than the controls initially, but after further exposure, a curious thing happened: instead of more cells dying, the exposed cells were replicating furiously compared to the controls. Genes that trigger cells to multiply were turned on in a high proportion of the cells. The cancer, although briefly beaten back, had become more aggressive. Marinelli suspects that the radiation may initially damage DNA, and that this interferes with the biochemical signals in a way that ultimately triggers the cells to multiply more rapidly.

SO WHY ARE CELL PHONES STILL AROUND?
Now with all the mounting evidence, the cell phone industry still maintains their position that cell phones are safe and have even begun marketing towards children. The governments have been slow in stepping in to warn people of any danger from using cell phones. Fortunately, health officials and experts in several European countries are taking the first steps, having issued public warnings to parents urging caution about kids and cell phones,

If the previous environmental issues involving tobacco, asbestos, and lead are any indication, it takes years and even decades to accumulate the amount of evidence that would produce a definite ruling. In the case of cigarette smoking, it took two decades of study and 100 years of consumer use to gather enough data to meet research standards to demonstrate the need for the U.S. Surgeon General’s warning label on cigarette packs. Some experts say that in the case of cell phones, it will not take that long as data are coming in at a faster pace. But at the present the authorities can only urge people to exercise caution.

Replication of research is another problem. A study that comes out with a new finding generally does not gain immediate acceptance in the scientific community or the wireless industry unless another research lab has been able to replicate the work and the findings. The industry has cleverly perpetuated their position by creating an illusion of responsible follow up by always calling for more research.

When Dr. Salford published his study in 2003 showing that rat brain neurons were dying from exposure to cellphone radiation, he warned there might be similar effects in humans that over time could lead to degenerative diseases of the brain. His study was written off by the industry as a “novel” finding that needed to be replicated.

But achieving the scientific standard of replication can be complicated. Salford says if studies aren’t absolutely replicated, providing an apples-to-apples comparison, there’s wiggle room to dispute follow-up findings. Research studies require funding, and the wireless industry, after Dr. Carlo’s revelations, have been reluctant to put money into more comprehensive research. As for governments, again many European governments are taking the responsible course by funding research, but the U.S. and Canada are lagging poorly.

In 1999, CNN’s Larry King once again featured a man who brought a multimillion dollar lawsuit against cell phone manufacturers. This time the man, a Maryland neurologist, was himself diagnosed with brain cancer–again located on the side of the head where he held his cell phone. The suit was yet again dismissed, however, and the man died not long afterwards.

According to WHO report, 0.1 billion people have died from tobacco use in the 20th century, and 10 times as many will die in the 21st century. No one is suggesting that cell phones could cause as much casualties, but do we really want to wait and find out?

AIMING FOR RESPONSIBLE TECHNOLOGY
Unlike tobacco, the cell phone has become as an indispensable part of our lives as television and computer. It has enabled us to make a gigantic leap in the way we communicate with one another and has been credited widely with saving people’s lives in emergency situations. Cell phones are here to stay, and perhaps rightly so.

The question is not how to stop people from using this ubiquitous device but rather how to make it safer. The first step always is to admit there is a problem, hence the industry and the government have to acknowledge the health risks inherent with the present technology. This way we can all find the proper solutions that we may more enjoy the benefits of its use without sacrificing our health and wellbeing.

copyright 2005 Taraka Serrano

Cell Phone Safety – How to Be a Responsible Driver

Introduction

Studies have shown that using a cell phone while driving does increase the risk of a crash, but the amount of increased risk is still difficult to be known. It is agreed, however, that talking on a cell phone while operating a vehicle is a distraction that may impair driving ability, especially teenagers who are sometime easily occupied by other things. The aim of this paper is to present available data concerning the impact that cell phone use has on driving ability and increasing crash risk. In November 1, 2001, the State of New York enacted a law banning all drivers regardless of age from talking on a handheld cell phone while driving the vehicles. The move was later followed by the state of North Carolina, who on December 1, 2006, although the programs were not relatively same in term of who they were trying to reach, began prohibiting use of any cell phone communication device by drivers younger than 18 years old.

These studies were done to reduce risks to teenagers drivers and people of all ages by reducing highway deaths and injuries, reducing higher crash risk for teenagers due to their greater difficulty handling distractions and their high use rates of cell phone and other communication devices and to add restriction on graduated driver’s license along with the expectation that it would be viewed, accepted and enforced in the same way as is the case for the other protective elements of the graduated licensing system. In the North Carolina’s teenager drivers’ cell phone restriction, there were two or more exceptions for teenagers drivers to use cell phones while on public roads. These exceptions include talking to a teenager’s parent or legal guardian or talking to emergency response operator, hospital, physician’s office or health clinic, a private or privately owned ambulance company or service, fire department or law enforcement agency regarding an emergency situation. In New York, the exceptions were limited only to placing an emergency phone call to 911, calling or using a hands-free device, manual dialing or using a handheld phone when the vehicle is stopped.

Goals of the studies

The goal of the studies is to see whether the ban on cell phones use in two states, New York and North Carolina has led to reduction in car related deaths and injuries on public roads.

Aim and Objectives

The aim of these studies is to undertake an evaluation of the longer term effects of New York State’s law on drivers’ handheld cell phone use and the short term effects of a teenage drivers cell phone restriction in the state of North Carolina to determine the impact on all stakeholders and assess the effects on any issues relating to the quality and effectiveness of the cell phones use. The objectives of these studies are to:
• Determine whether cell phone users see the ways in which the states operate as useful, appropriate and effective way to reduce highway related deaths and injuries.
• Determine whether substantial short term declines in drivers’ use of cell phones and other communication devices after a ban, were sustained one or more years later
• Assess the implementation of the program and the extent to which they meet their goals
• Assess the impact of the cell phones use on the cell phone users/ other key stakeholders
• Assess planning and monitoring mechanisms used by each state at its local level

Methodology/Design

To ensure a comprehensive evaluation design, the qualitative arm of the studies included focus groups, observation surveys to measure the extent to which the new restriction affected teenagers’ cell phone use while driving, telephone interviews by professional telephone interview organizations with the focus to sampled randomly households using a list of households in North Carolina believed to have one or more teenagers ages 16 or 17. Pilot testing with the focus on observing drivers in the morning and pre-law observation which was conducted five months after the law went into effect were also used. In North Carolina observers attempted to gather information on how a cell phone was used, for example, held to ear, visual evidence of dialing, text messaging or game playing or evidence of hands free use. Information on type of phone use was not recorded in New York State. In New York, daytime observations of drivers were conducted at controlled intersections on geographically dispersed, heavily traveled roads in four small to medium sized upstate communities such as Albany, Binghamton, Kingston and the village of Spring Valley. Observations were conducted on Thursday and Friday in seven observation period throughout the day. Approaching vehicles in the closest two lanes were observed by a person positioned at the roadside at or near the intersection. Excluded in the observations process in the New York State were emergency vehicles, tractor-trailer trucks and buses. In state of North Carolina, no particular groups were excluded in the observations process.

The pre-law interviews were conducted on November 2006 in North Carolina with 400 groups of parents and teenagers and post-law interviews on April 2007 with relatively same groups of parents (401). Interview completion rates, those who complete interview with both parents and teenager from the same household, were 72% and 67% in the pre-law and post-law surveys while in New York State (based on December 2001 pre-law and march 2002 post-law surveys combined) use rates by driver characteristics were calculated and differences were judged only if the 95% confidence intervals of the estimated use rates did no overlap. In North Carolina cell phone use rates were similar for males and females while cell phone use rates were higher for drivers younger than 25 than for drivers ages 26-60 in New York. However, the differences were not significant. Five counties were identified in North Carolina for study (Buncombe, Guilford, Mecklenburg, Orange, and Wake County). The counties selected represented the most populous areas in the state and ranged in population from 120,000 to 825,000 each according to U.S. Census Department’s 2007 North Carolina statistics. Within each county, schools were selected for observation based on the sufficiently large number of teenager drivers (approximately 100 or more and the approach roadways and parking configurations at schools that allowed for observation of most teenage drivers when departing. Separate focus groups in both states involving parents, school staff and external stakeholders were held in each state. A total of 27 focus groups were conducted across the North Carolina. All regional line managers of Telephone Interview, a professional organization contracted by state’s mobile phone health program were also involved in individual interviews.

Studies examining the effects of age on crash rates among drivers with limited experience also were not considered. Although these studies have found clear age effects, they failed to address the effects of experience. Similarly excluded were studies examining the effects of experience on crash among drivers of a limited age ranges. These studies demonstrated that 16 and 17 years old beginners had high crash risk because of driving inexperience but did not address the effects of age. Finally, the review excluded three studies of the effects of age and experience on motorcycle crashes because it was not clear the findings could be generalized to other crash types. Motorcycle travel is inherently more hazardous than travel by other types of vehicles, and crash-involved motorcyclists differ from other crash-involved drivers in important respects.

Measurement issues

In terms of variables, the studies were using pre-law observations, drivers’ handheld cell use rate, drivers characteristics, phone us/ nonuse, driver gender, belt use, number and gender of passenger such as all male, all female or mixed and vehicle type, for example, car, SUV, pickup truck or ban. In the state of New York, the measurement was on cell phone use rates by driver gender, age and which type of vehicle. Use rates by driver characteristics were calculated for the pre-law survey (December 2001, March 2002 and March 2003 surveys combined). Differences were judged significant if 95% interval of the estimated use rates did not change. For all survey in New York and North Carolina, cell phone rates were similar for males and females regardless of age. Use rate were higher for drivers younger than 25 than for drivers ages 25 to 59 in New York, but the differences were not significant. Use among drivers ages 60 and older was negligible across all surveys in New York. With regard to which vehicle type, drivers of cars had the lowest use rate, but only the difference between drivers of cars and drivers of SUV was significant in all New York surveys, but remain unknown in the North Carolina surveys.

Data to develop different measures, for example, crash and exposure measures sometimes were collected at different times and or pertained to different time periods. Injury crash rates for drivers licensed 12 months versus 1+ years computed by age and gender. Multiple regression models were also developed. Some relative risks calculations provided for experience effects among younger drivers. Overall positive age effects for males were similar but weaker effect for females. Among novice males, crash rates similar for ages 16 and 17, and 18 but much lower at age 17; among novice females, rates higher at 16 than 17 to 19. Crash risk lower among male or female novice versus experienced drivers for ages 16 to 25. No marked experience effects among older females or males. Since none of these studies has talk about it, in the future we might need to look into the annual miles driven, miles driven during previous year, and miles driven during previous week by drivers regardless of ages to come up with outcomes.

Outcomes

• More drivers, both teenagers in North Carolina and all drivers in New York, stops driving while talking on handheld cell phones due to threat of ticket.
• More cell phone use while driving has resulted in citations being issued to increase public perception that state government is serious about the cell phones use while driving on public roads.
• Increases in hand-free device technologies due to pressure from the state government
• Reduction in number of deaths and injuries sustained by drivers driving while on handheld cell phone in New York and North Carolina
To achieve these outcomes the followings have to happens based on the studies’ conclusions
• Threat of imprisonment- which the two states have not yet adopted
• Parental involvement- which north Carolina state has already adopted
• Parental supervision- none of the states is in position to adopt the strategy
• Law enforcement agencies taking tough stands against those who disobey the laws

Statistical Analysis

Estimates were derived of the proportion of drivers in qualifying vehicles who were using handheld cell phones in New York and of teenagers’ drivers who were talking on handheld cell phones while driving in North Carolina. Ironically, changes in phone use rates between the post-law and pre-law surveys in each state were examined, with 95% confidence interval for relative rates obtained in North Carolina. In New York, rates were compared between the pre-law and post-law and short term post-law surveys with associated 95% confidence intervals. Assuming that patterns cell phone use among teenagers’ drivers in North Carolina would have followed situations observed among drivers in New York, absent North Carolina’s restriction on teenagers’ drivers cell phones use, logic regression analysis made a direct statistical comparison between the changes observed in cell phone use rates in New York relative to the observed change in a teenagers’ drivers cell phones use in North Carolina. The estimated percentage change in use rates in New York relative to those percentage changes in North Carolina based on the ratio of “after” and “before” odds ratios, car type, driver gender and passenger presence were a functions of the model coefficient for the interaction variable. Differences in survey responses between teenagers and their parents were tested for statistical significance using chi-square tests of independence while cell phones use were observed using drivers characteristics observed during the 10 minute observations of passing traffic and applied to the total vehicles counted during the 35 minute cell phone observation periods.

The methods and findings of the two studies are summarized in and grouped according to whether driving exposure was considered in addition to age and years of driving experience. Data were obtained from self-reported driver surveys or from government records such as driver’s license records, police crash reports, or insurance claims files. The lower age limit ranged from 16 to 18, and the upper age limit ranged from 25 to 70 and older. The lower bound for years of driving experience generally was 1 year or less, and the upper bound ranged from 2 years to 38 years or more. The primary measures of exposure were cell phone citations issued during the first 15 months, gender drivers’ ages and the vehicle type (Car, SUVs or van). During the 2006, actually two to eight weeks before the implementation of the cell phones ban, phone use was observed for 6,164 teenage drivers in North Carolina and 1,257 in New York for all drivers. In the beginning of the following year, approximately 5 months after the ban implementation, phone use was observed for 6,401 teenage drivers in North Carolina and 25,694 in New York. Characteristics of the samples observed were similar in both New York and North Carolina. In the pre-law survey approximately half of observed teenage drivers were male in North Carolina (47%) while both male and female were observed in New York (2.3% to 1.1% immediately after the law took effect). There was not significant change in observations during the post-law in both states. About half of teenage drivers were observed driving alone (without passengers) in North Carolina (52%) and none was reported for the New York.