How Effective Are Texting Bans? IDK n IDC (part 2)

Posted on behalf of Stewart Bell, PLLC on Dec 22, 2010 in Car Accidents

In our last post, we talked about the continuing controversy over the effectiveness of bans on texting while driving. Thirty states have banned the practice, but the Highway Loss Data Institute found that the number of car accident s actually increased after the bans went into effect. The study looked at four states, not the whole 30, but the result confirmed what the HDLI has been reporting about cell phone bans generally since 2003. People love their phones. And they'll give 'em up when we pry 'em from their cold, dead hands.

Two things are needed for texting bans to work, according to safety experts. The National Safety Council objected to the HDLI conclusions, pointing out that states were inconsistent in enforcing the texting bans. The NSC added that the basic assumption of the study -- that any change in the number of crashes is attributable to texting bans -- is faulty.

As far as enforcement is concerned, the NSC noted that enforcement projects in two cities showed a measurable impact on reducing texting while driving. The organization argued that states and municipalities should work to develop best practices for enforcement and then stick to their plans.

Even improved enforcement won't eliminate the practice, experts admit. They add that noncompliance is the most likely reason texting bans haven't reduced accidents. If enforcement falls short, how else can we improve compliance? What's needed, really, is nothing short of a change in culture.

And what a culture change. We'll discuss this in more detail in our next post.

Resource: Insurance Journal "Study: Texting Bans Don't Reduce Crashes" 12/17/10

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