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Laws Banning Cell Phone Use While Driving Have Little Impact

Cell phone bans not reducing crashes

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State laws that ban cell phone use and texting while driving fail to reduce accidents, according to a new study by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI).

HLDI researchers calculated monthly collision claims per 100 insured vehicle years for vehicles up to 3 years old during the months immediately before and after hand-held phone use was banned while driving in New York, the District of Columbia, Connecticut and California.

Month-to month changes in rates of collision claims in places with bans did not change from before or after the laws went into effect.

Adrian-Lund "The laws aren’t reducing crashes, even though we know that such laws have reduced hand-held phone use, and several studies have established that phoning while driving increases crash risk," says Adrian Lund, president of both the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and HLDI.

In New York the HLDI researchers did find a decrease in collision claim frequencies, relative to comparison states, but this decreasing trend began well before the state’s ban on hand-held phoning while driving and actually paused briefly when the ban took effect. Trends in the District of Columbia, Connecticut, and California didn’t change.

"So the new findings don’t match what we already know about the risk of phoning and texting while driving," Lund points out.

"If crash risk increases with phone use and fewer drivers use phones where it’s illegal to do so, we would expect to see a decrease in crashes. But we aren’t seeing it. Nor do we see collision claim increases before the phone bans took effect. This is surprising, too, given what we know about the growing use of cellphones and the risk of phoning while driving. We’re currently gathering data to figure out this mismatch."
 

Related Articles:

> Advocacy Group Aims To Take On Distracted Drivers

> Senators Push For A Ban On Texting While Driving

>Safety Group Calls For Cell Phone Ban While Driving

Laws Banning Cell Phone Use While Driving Have Little Impact
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  • Stupidscript

    “..even though we know that such laws have reduced hand-held phone use..”

    How do they know that? Studies, please.

    Besides, passing a law like this one does diddly-squat. Enforcement is the issue. In California, I have not noticed any decrease in drivers talking on non-hands-free phones while driving, and I have never seen such a driver getting pulled over for the violation, even when we are side by side in parked traffic with a cop right next to us!

    Amazingly, this is true of folks who drive Mercedes, BMW and other luxury vehicles far more than drivers of more middle-class vehicles, at least in Los Angeles. In other words, the people who can most-easily afford it are the least concerned by it. This may contribute to the absence of enforcement, as the odds of someone driving a luxury vehicle being someone who could make trouble for an officer who irritates them with a pitiful little fine during a business call are much better than they are for those who drive less opulent cars.

    Personally, I know dozens of people who simply scoff at the idea that they should get a hands-free device, or that talking on a cell phone is a driving distraction. (Personally, I use a Bluetooth headset, and tell callers that reach me while driving that I will call them back after I park.)

    In addition, the claim of the new laws having had “little impact” presumes that the rate of people talking on a cell phone is the only factor in collision rates, when the fact is that while cell phone talking might have gone down, cell phone texting has gone up, so the collisions which were once attributed exclusively to cell phone talking can now be lumped in with all collisions where phone use played any role.

  • http://workhomeunion.com WorkHomeUnion

    I hate to see all the different people on their cells while driving and what is sad is that they care little about putting others at risk, including children. That is the sad part because it only takes a split second to lose or take a life in an accident, and being on the phone only increases that risk ..

  • http://www.controldatainc.com agency collection

    Studies are not going to prove anything. Do you know any person that gets in an accident and says “Oh I’m sorry , My fault! I was on the cell phone” ??

  • Patty

    Laws are only as good as the enforcement of them, or lack of it.
    I feel it is high time to re-engineer cell phones to shut off immediately when they sense movement over 2 mph. In fact, the GPS tracking currently incorporated into this technology could allow law enforcement to detect when a person is attempting to use the devices while moving fast. (ie. in a vehicle)
    This is a bit too Orwellian, but possible with existing technology.
    Opportunity is knocking to those techy’s that know how to design this kind of circuitry.

  • Guest

    fuck you