cell phone traffic accidentTraffic incidents involving at least one driver using his cellphone while driving is on the rise in the Philippines. Five years ago, in 2001, the National Statistical Coordination Board says only 14 traffic accidents involved the use of cellphones while driving. In 2006, that number increased almost seven fold to 91.

Last year, cell phones became the 12th leading cost of traffic accidents, according to the National Police’s Traffic Management Group. Japan, UK and Israel have passed a nationwide ban on using your cell phone while driving.

A cellphone ban on drivers, sort of, is being followed by traffic enforcers as far back as 1997 in Manila. A 200-peso ($4 USD) was imposed on drivers with a cellphone in hand. “A driver has to use one of his hands to hold the cell unit and the other to tinker with its buttons, so his eyes are on the unit rather than on the road,” the Metro Manila Development Authority resolution said. A study done in the University of Utah, however, says that hands-free cell phone use for drivers is just as dangerous as operating a cellphone with your hand.