Laws to ban texting while driving aren’t giving us safer roadways. The opposite is turning out to be true in three out of four states studied by the Highway Loss Data Institute.
The study suggests that lack of enforcement of the laws and phone-lowering by texters to avoid detection are reasons for the increased counts.
The report states:
"Texting bans haven’t reduced crashes at all. In a perverse twist, crashes increased in three of the four states we studied after bans were enacted. It’s an indication that texting bans might even increase the risk of texting for drivers who continue to do so despite the laws," says Adrian Lund, president of both HLDI and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety."
The study looked at texting bans in California, Louisiana, Washington and Minnesota. Crashes increased the most for drivers younger than 25 and California showing the largest crash increase, 12 percent.
The report also states:
"If drivers were disregarding the bans, then the crash patterns should have remained steady. So clearly drivers did respond to the bans somehow, and what they might have been doing was moving their phones down and out of sight when they texted, in recognition that what they were doing was illegal. This could exacerbate the risk of texting by taking drivers’ eyes further from the road and for a longer time."
The results don’t surprise me, as more people are texting and police do not have the resources to patrol for violators as a primary offense. My advice to everyone is to either turn your phone off while you’re behind the wheel, or toss it into the back seat.
The message can wait. Nothing is as important as safe driving, for both you and everyone on the road.
See the study results:
Texting bans don’t reduce crashes; effects are slight crash increases