Texting while driving laws may not reduce the number of crashes
According to a new research from the Highway Loss Data Institute, laws forbidding the use of a cell phone while driving do not seem to have an impact on the number of crashes.
The study compared collision claim data in four states that banned the use of cell phones while driving before and after the bans went into effect. It also measured collision data from states that enacted bans on driving while texting claims to compare the number of crashes with states that do not have such legislation.
It appears that the state of California did not see a decrease for car accidents since the hand-held cell phone ban took place a year ago. In the last 12 months, the accident rate went from 8 for 100 vehicles to 7.5 for 100 vehicles. Moreover, California shows the same rate of accidents than Arizona and Nevada, where no hand-held cell phone ban has been placed.
For New York, researchers found lower collision claims than in other states, but the decrease began before the state’s ban on hand-held usage of a cell phone while driving took effect.
While the Highway Loss Data Institute said that most car accidents are caused by a distracted driver, they were unable to specify if drivers were using their cell phone at the time of the accident.
In a statement, the Transportation Department disapproved the findings of this study, saying that “it is irresponsible to suggest that laws banning cell phone use while driving have zero effect on the number of crashes on our nation’s roadways. We know that by enacting and enforcing tough laws, states have reduced the number of crashes leading to injuries and fatalities.”
Source: Wall Street Journal, January 30, 2010; Highway Loss Data Institute