First, studies found that driving while using a cell phone was as bad as driving drunk, which led to bans in New York, Connecticut, California and Washington, D.C. But now a study by the insurance industry group the Highway Lost Data Institute has determined that these bans have produced no significant drop in auto accident where they’ve been enacted. The tricky part is that cell phone usage in cars has declined. Theoretically, that should have led to a matching drop in accidents, but it didn’t.
“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 HDLI President Adrian Lund. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration disagrees with the study’s assessment, issuing the following statement:
“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. A University of Utah study shows that using a cell phone while driving can be just as dangerous and deadly as driving drunk. We know that by enacting and enforcing tough laws, states have reduced the number of crashes leading to injuries and fatalities. We know that high-visibility campaigns and enforcement, like Click It or Ticket and Drunk Driving. Over The Limit. Under Arrest has had a positive influence on driver behavior. That’s why seat belt use is at an all-time high of 84 percent and drunk driving is declining. These improvements didn’t happen overnight. It took strong laws, enforcement, education and personal responsibility to bring us where we are today, and still there is more work to do. When it comes to distracted driving, we are only at the starting gate.”
So one study says the ban has had no effect, but doesn’t know why. The government responds by basically saying “shut up, you’re wrong!” Meanwhile, all those drivers who put down their cell phones in exchange for those stupid bluetooth earpieces are too busy crashing their cars to care.
Story and Image Source: National Public Radio