Tex­ting ban doesn’t re­duce road crashes, study finds

Los Angeles Times - - The Nation -

Bans on tex­ting while driv­ing fail to re­duce crash rates be­cause mo­torists ig­nore the rules, ac­cord­ing to a study by the High­way Loss Data In­sti­tute, a group funded by the in­surance in­dus­try.

Crashes in­creased in three of four states it sur­veyed where driver tex­ting was banned, ac­cord­ing to the group’s state­ment re­leased Tues­day. The study fo­cused on col­li­sion claims in the states be­fore and af­ter they en­acted bans.

The High­way Loss Data In­sti­tute study cov­ered Cal­i­for­nia, Louisiana, Min­nesota and Washington. Adrian Lund, pres­i­dent of the High­way Loss Data In­sti­tute and the In­surance In­sti­tute for High­way Safety, said the tex­ting bans, en­acted in 2008 and 2009, may worsen the prob­lem as driv­ers moved their phones out of sight to avoid de­tec­tion, shift­ing their eyes far­ther from the road.

Young driv­ers are more likely to text while driv­ing, and col­li­sion rates among driv­ers younger than 25 rose in the four states. The biggest crash in­crease in the study was among young driv­ers in Cal­i­for­nia, where col­li­sion claims rose 12% af­ter the bans were en­acted.

Laws against cell­phone tex­ting have been en­acted in 30 states since 2004, and al­most half of them this year, the group said.

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has called for a fed­eral law out­law­ing driver tex­ting. More than 5,800 traf­fic deaths were tied to dis­tracted driv­ing in 2008, ac­cord­ing to the Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion.

“Tex­ting bans haven’t re­duced crashes at all,” Lund said in the state­ment.

Trans­porta­tion Sec­re­tary Ray LaHood said the re­sults were mis­lead­ing. They don’t match up with his agency’s re­search show­ing that deadly dis­tracted driv­ing de­clines when laws are strictly en­forced, he said in a state­ment.

The Na­tional Safety Coun­cil said the study took place in the four states “when con­sis­tent, uni­form and ef­fec­tive en­force­ment was not in place.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.