Text Bans Don't Reduce Distracted Driving, Study Says

Motorola H17txt,
We reported Monday that the Governors Highway Safety Association decided not to support a total ban on in-car phone usage, and a new study may point to the reason why.

Thirty states and the District of Columbia have banned texting while driving and, according to the Highway Loss Data Institute, there is no evidence that those laws have affected the frequency crashes caused by distracted driving. To the contrary, the laws may have actually increased the amount of collisions.

The HLDI study looked at the crash rates before and after text-ban laws took effect in four states — California, Minnesota, Washington and Louisiana – and compared it to surrounding states that have no such laws. After adjusting for possible changes in collision claim rates unrelated to the bans, the study found that the bans did nothing to reduce crashes. And in three of the four states, crash rates increased after the ban.

The increase could be due to the fact that drivers who are knowingly texting in states where it’s illegal are trying to conceal their phones by moving them down and out of the sight while driving. A study from the University of Glasgow shows that focusing on something on your lap, rather than having the phone’s display at a normal viewing level, might be more hazardous for a texting driver.

Besides trying to avoid detection, few people in the HLDI study stopped texting altogether once the ban took effect. Forty-five percent of 18- to 24-year-olds in states where texting and driving is banned reported to still partake in the practice after the ban, compared with 48% of people in states that have no ban.

In addition to the poor correlation between text bans and safety, there is no evidence that banning hand-held phones reduces crashes, either, according to the HLDI.

There is still only mixed evidence as to whether texting or talking on a phone is any more distracting than having a conversation with passengers, adjusting the radio or having a blood-alcohol level of 0.08.

By Colin Bird | September 29, 2010 | Comments (9)
Tags: Safety

Comments 

Laws don't protect people, following laws (or enforcement of them) protects people:
"...few people in the HLDI study stopped texting altogether once the ban took effect."

Steve

The heftier fine and harsher punishment would be the solution even though I am not a fan of these. If they know that they could lose their car when they get caugh doing it, they won't risk it. The bottom line is drivers need to understand how dangerous the projectile that weighs 3000 plus pounds at even 30 mph can be. People get compacent if accidents don't happen to them. It is a probablility game and can happen to anyone. It only takes a fraction of a second.

Rockaby

I've said it once and I'll say it again, texting and driving distracts me less than changing the radio station or the way the A/C blows on my feet. I promise.

55

Rocbaby. If you say something stupid once, don't say it again.

You've gotta go to the source - people's attention. If people can't learn to pay attention to the crucial aspects of driving while doing so, then these bans and laws will have no affect.

Capture their attention with harsh fines, points, and the possibility of jail time. Granted, that'll never happen here, but it sure as hell would cut down on *some* of the stupidity while and inattention driving (the rest is inherent and won't ever change).

Still, it leaves the issue of enforcement at a standstill.

It's a complex issue, that's for sure.

Rockaby

55, I'd love to drive you around in my car while I texted on it, and that way I could prove to you that it's not freaking impossible to do both well at the same time.

Dex

I drive a 2002 Expedition for when I run into people like you. Oops were you texting little girl?

Rockaby

It makes me laugh to hear people drive SUVs to feel safe. Go ahead and get your 13mpg with your $35,000 SUV, I'm glad you can afford it!

Awesome blog keep up the great writing.. We will for sure be back for more! We are all about Trucking Jobs!

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