Sunday, October 3, 2010

Text Bans Don't Reduce Distracted Driving, Study Says

According to the Highway Loss Data Institute, there is no evidence that laws have affected the frequency crashes caused by distracted driving. To the contrary, the laws may have actually increased the amount of collisions.

The Kicking Tires blog reports that 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."

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1 comment:

  1. Business people need to 'hit the ball over the net'. Teens consider it rude not to reply immediately to texts. Home schedules would grind to a halt without immediate communication. We are conditioned to pursue this level of efficiency but we are all supposed cease this behavior once we sit in our respective 5,000 pound pieces of steel and glass. Anyone can win an argument in a forum like this by saying "Just put the phone away" - but we can see its just not happening.

    I just read that 72% of teens text daily - many text more 3000 times a month. New college students no longer have email addresses! They use texting and Facebook - even with their professors. This text and drive issue is in its infancy and its not going away.

    I decided to do something about it after my three year old daughter was nearly run down right in front of me by a texting driver . Instead of a shackle that locks down phones and alienates the user (especially teens) I built a tool called OTTER that is a simple app for smartphones. I think if we can empower the individual then change will come to our highways now and not just our laws.

    Erik Wood, owner
    OTTER app