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Hand-Held Phone Bans May Not Reduce Crashes

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, February 09, 2010 12:41 PM EST
Category: On The Road
Tags: Distracted Driving, Texting, Cell Phones, Auto Accidents, Collisions, Hand-Held Phones, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

A study of crash data in four states before and after hand-held cellphone bans does not show a difference in the crash rate.

Four States Studied


IMAGE SOURCE:© iStockphoto/ teen driving and talking on cell phone

A study from the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) finds there were no reductions in crashes after hand-held phone bans were put into place in three states and the District of Columbia.

The report comes as state legislators enact laws or attempt to enact legislation that bans talking on the phone or texting while driving.

HLDI researchers looked at the monthly collision claims per 100 insured vehicle years (one car insured for one year). Areas in the study included New York, the District of Columbia, Connecticut, and California, calculating the collision rates both before and after hand-held phone bans were put into place.

What they found was the month-to-month fluctuations in the rates of collision claims didn’t change after bans were enacted.

The Institute is affiliated with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

“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,” according to Adrian Lund, president of the IIHS and HLDI.

Other studies have found that there was a four-fold increase in the risk of injuries when the two groups looked a driver phone records and crashes. And a study in Canada found a four-fold increase in crashes that led to property damage.

While the new findings don’t match previous findings about the risk of phoning and texting while driving, the Institutes say the findings are surprising and they are gathering data to “figure out this mismatch.”

Other Factors?

Lund says other factors may be impacting the hand-held phone bans.

When drivers switch to hands-free phones, the risk remains high.

And with 21 states and the District of Columbia prohibiting drivers from using any type of phone, such laws are difficult to enforce. That was the case in North Carolina, where teen drivers did not slow down on the phone use after a ban went into place.

Current law bans handheld cell phone in seven states – California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Utah, Washington, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands. These are primary enforcement laws, meaning an officer may write a ticket simply for using a hand-held cell phone while driving with the exception of Washington State.

Additionally, drivers in 21 states who are novice drivers are banned from using cell phones. School bus drivers in 17 states and the District of Columbia are prohibited from using cell phones when passengers are present.

Text Messaging – Now banned in 19 states along with the District of Columbia. 9 states prohibit texting by novice drivers and only one state, Texas, restricts school bus drivers from texting while driving.

The Governors Highway Safety Association tracks the changes in all 50 states. #

1 Comment

Anonymous User
Posted by Krystal Kid
Tuesday, February 09, 2010 1:25 PM EST

80% percent of all rear end collisions (the most frequent vehicle accident) are caused by driver inattention, following too closely, external distraction (talking on cell phones, shaving, applying makeup, fiddling with the radio or CD player, texting, etc.) and poor judgment. I doubt if we'll ever stop the madness so I got one of these sparebumper.com to protect my family and vehicle.

Comments for this article are closed.

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