Texting While Driving Bans: New Study Reveals Impact on Fatalities

Texting While Driving Bans: New Study Reveals Impact on Fatalities

Texting Bans

A new study has found that US states in which police officers are allowed to pull over a driver for texting saw fewer deaths than those without such policies.

If you live in a state in which police officers are allowed to pull over drivers caught texting, you may just be a little bit safer than the norm. Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health studied the effects of texting-while-driving laws on roadway crash-related fatalities and published their promising findings in the August issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

According to lead author Dr. Alva O. Ferdinand, some states have banned all drivers from texting while driving, while others have banned only young drivers from this activity. Further, in some states, an officer must have another reason to stop a vehicle, such as speeding, before he's allowed to issue a texting ticket.

"Very little is known about whether laws banning texting while driving have actually improved roadway safety," Ferdinand said. "Further, given the considerable variation in the types of laws that states have passed and whom they ban from what, it was necessary to determine which types of laws are most beneficial in improving roadway safety."

The results of the study showed a three percent reduction in traffic fatalities among all age groups, said Ferdinand, but the results among younger drivers was the most dramatic. "Primarily enforced texting laws that banned only young drivers from texting were the most effective at reducing deaths among the 15- to 21-year-old cohort, with an associated 11 percent reduction in traffic fatalities among this age group in states with such bans."

As for older drivers, banning handheld devices altogether is what showed the best results. "We were a little surprised to see that primarily enforced texting bans were not associated with significant reductions in fatalities among those ages 21 to 64, who are not considered to be young drivers," Ferdinand said. "However, states with bans prohibiting the use of cellphones without hands-free technology altogether on all drivers saw significant reductions in fatalities among this particular age group. Thus, although texting-while-driving bans were most effective for reducing traffic-related fatalities among young individuals, handheld bans appear to be most effective for adults."

Are you guilty of texting while driving? Do you agree with texting or handheld bans?

Source: ScienceDaily

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Not surprising, you may as well substitute "driving whilst texting" for "driving whilst distracted" and the results of the study wouldn't change. Whether someones fiddling with a satnav, a phone or old school maps it makes driving a lot more hazardous.

Huh, I thought this was obvious. Over here in England it's been illegal for ages.

J Tyran:
Not surprising, you may as well substitute "driving whilst texting" for "driving whilst distracted" and the results of the study wouldn't change. Whether someones fiddling with a satnav, a phone or old school maps it makes driving a lot more hazardous.

Yeah, I really dont see why

1: This is surprising for anyone and

2: What people use to justify texting while driving. If ANYTHING you have to say to anyone is that important...its important enough to stop the car and take the time to do it safely. What could anyone possibly have to say that makes it ok to risk other peoples lives?

Humanity. Blech.

Wait a minute! Banning texting while driving has been shown to save lives!?! This looks like a job for Captain Obvious!

But seriously, how have they not made it illegal country wide by now?

Where I live, there are signs on the highways that say if you're caught texting and driving, you're getting a $600 ticket. Thing is, people don't care as they still text and drive. While I don't, my older sister does, and she even does it in front of me which annoys me. Hell, just last week I was driving home and saw a person texting while driving his big rig truck, and as a result he almost hit me. Luckily my horn is loud and obnoxious enough to pry that driver's eyes away from his phone. >.>

Neronium:
Where I live, there are signs on the highways that say if you're caught texting and driving, you're getting a $600 ticket. Thing is, people don't care as they still text and drive. While I don't, my older sister does, and she even does it in front of me which annoys me. Hell, just last week I was driving home and saw a person texting while driving his big rig truck, and as a result he almost hit me. Luckily my horn is loud and obnoxious enough to pry that driver's eyes away from his phone. >.>

Irony: getting into an accident because you're reading the $600 texting ticket sign.

Thing is if you're a person that needs a "no text while driving" law, then i doubt the law will make a difference. Its commonsense to not txt while driving for really obvious reasons.

Do none of you find it a bit odd that the study is using fatalities as its only measured variable to determine to effectiveness of these laws? Not all roadway incidents involving a distracted driver result in a fatality. They can also result in injury, property damage, or nothing at all. In order to assess the complete picture, every outcome must be measured.

Whether an incident results in a fatality is influenced by many things, most of all the age of the vehicle involved, I would expect. The study used a sample period of 1 decade. In that decade cars have become MUCH more safe both for the occupants of the vehicle, and whatever else the vehicle collides with. This study shows correlation, but not causality.

Here's the thing: people do it anyway.

Here in the UK it's nigh impossible to actually get prosecuted for it unless you cause an accident and have your phone seized.

Driving whilst distracted is bad, it makes you pay attention to other road users less, this should be obvious.

Rhykker:

Irony: getting into an accident because you're reading the $600 texting ticket sign.

Wouldn't surprise me if that has happened before. The worst accidents here usually occur from texting while driving in the rain, because if you grew up in Southern California there is a high chance you do not know how to drive in the rain. Which makes sense seeing as falling water from the sky is a rarity down here. Raining ashes from fire, that's a bit more common. :P

I've got an AUX cable, and i hold my phone for flicking through songs, i'd like to say that's not bad, but i think i'd get pulled over, even though i take my eyes off the road for about half a second at a time.

90sgamer:
Do none of you find it a bit odd that the study is using fatalities as its only measured variable to determine to effectiveness of these laws? Not all roadway incidents involving a distracted driver result in a fatality. They can also result in injury, property damage, or nothing at all. In order to assess the complete picture, every outcome must be measured.

Whether an incident results in a fatality is influenced by many things, most of all the age of the vehicle involved, I would expect. The study used a sample period of 1 decade. In that decade cars have become MUCH more safe both for the occupants of the vehicle, and whatever else the vehicle collides with. This study shows correlation, but not causality.

I did find that odd.

But one thing to keep in mind is that they were comparing states that have no-texting laws to states that basically don't, and they observed the difference in fatality rates. So given cars became more safe across all states, I think the vehicle itself can factor out of the equation. An important thing to note though would be that, if anything, the effects of these laws are being under-reported, since there are fewer fatalities thanks to increasing safety standards.

While I am 100% against the practice of texting and driving, this study is off base. It's assuming reduced fatalities in driving in a given age group is due to these laws which is not something that can be known.

As an example: From 2008-2009, traffic fatalities dropped by 11.5%, and no such laws existed in America at that time. A 3% decrease is about average from year to year, with an occasional increase. This more than likely has to do with many factors such as cars are becoming increasingly safer to drive. For instance, many safety features have become basic features of many newer cars such as both driver and passenger side airbags.

Furthermore: laws against something are not a preventative measure. That is like saying that murder is rare because it's illegal when the reality is most people do not want to murder other people. While it can't be said safety is not a good reason for such laws, those laws came into existence for states and municipalities to increase their income. The fines for these things are out of control in a lot of ways. Once again, not saying that it should be OK, but I am going to approach this from a reasonable angle rather than listening to some talking head determine something that which cannot be determined from a given set of laws.

While they were comparing state to state, each state is different and may have other safety laws that are not taking into account. Also, 3% should be well within a margin of error, so it doesn't say much.

Police Offers.
Found a Typo.

Anyways, this makes sense, the fact that there are places where this is still allowed is just stupid, clearly people get distracted while they drive into a bomb factory.

Meh, in the UK this has been illegal for a while.

To be honest I just kinda assumed that every 1st world country had already got on board with the idea. Guess that shows what assumption does.

Personally I don't care one way or the other though - I know that people are all about health and saftey these days (I honestly find it hilarious the level of venom that many on the internet put into their opinions about people who text-and-drive, people who speed, people who smoke while driving (or smoke in general)) - I don't really give a fuck. I mean, I'd rather nobody else was on the road at all when I'm driving, but if I'm careful (and I generally am) then I can avoid the fucking retards.

Seriously? Anyone doubted that taking attention-grabbing devices out of peoples' hands made them less likely to miss things while driving?

Maybe I'm just entirely single-track minded, but I have difficulty checking my mirrors for more than a second without losing my sense of direction, so extended glances at one's hand seemed like the absolute worst idea ever to me already.

SirBryghtside:
Huh, I thought this was obvious. Over here in England it's been illegal for ages.

Well, we enforce the use of seatbelts too. Some Americans don't like their freedoms being impinged by too many rules and laws. (I always remember the case of the guy who vehemently campaigned against laws enforcing seatbelt use being killed in an a car accident that everyone else survived because they wore seatbelts)

momijirabbit:
Police Offers.
Found a Typo.

Anyways, this makes sense, the fact that there are places where this is still allowed is just stupid, clearly people get distracted while they drive into a bomb factory.

Whoops; fixed. Thanks!

I think it's a matter of policy not being to keep up with technology. New technologies emerge quickly; new laws can take very long to come into effect, as bureaucracy can slow things down.

well DUUUUUH. And holy shit ? really not banned in every state ? how weird.

Rhykker:

90sgamer:
Do none of you find it a bit odd that the study is using fatalities as its only measured variable to determine to effectiveness of these laws? Not all roadway incidents involving a distracted driver result in a fatality. They can also result in injury, property damage, or nothing at all. In order to assess the complete picture, every outcome must be measured.

Whether an incident results in a fatality is influenced by many things, most of all the age of the vehicle involved, I would expect. The study used a sample period of 1 decade. In that decade cars have become MUCH more safe both for the occupants of the vehicle, and whatever else the vehicle collides with. This study shows correlation, but not causality.

I did find that odd.

But one thing to keep in mind is that they were comparing states that have no-texting laws to states that basically don't, and they observed the difference in fatality rates. So given cars became more safe across all states, I think the vehicle itself can factor out of the equation. An important thing to note though would be that, if anything, the effects of these laws are being under-reported, since there are fewer fatalities thanks to increasing safety standards.

Good point! One would expect to see similarly aged vehicles across all states-- probably. The only reasonable counter-point I can think of is that states that would enact a no-texting laws have also enacted other laws that would tend to reduce fatalities. For example, I live in Commifornia, which has the strictest emissions laws in the country. These laws tend to weed out older vehicles with ancient emissions equipment, forcing residents to obtain newer vehicles, which also just happen to be safer.

In any case, is there a national standard by which all law enforcement agencies in all states identify "driving while distracted" exactly the same?

I don't even know why people think they can text & drive safely at the same time.

Shit, I can't even text and walk without running into something.

lacktheknack:
Seriously? Anyone doubted that taking attention-grabbing devices out of peoples' hands made them less likely to miss things while driving?

Maybe I'm just entirely single-track minded, but I have difficulty checking my mirrors for more than a second without losing my sense of direction, so extended glances at one's hand seemed like the absolute worst idea ever to me already.

I could be wrong, but I think that the question wasn't so much "does it help if people stop texting while driving", it was "does making it illegal actually cause people to stop doing it". And apparently, the answer is at least a partial yes.

Windknight:

Well, we enforce the use of seatbelts too. Some Americans don't like their freedoms being impinged by too many rules and laws. (I always remember the case of the guy who vehemently campaigned against laws enforcing seatbelt use being killed in an a car accident that everyone else survived because they wore seatbelts)

I seriously looked that up to see if it were true, because that seemed too stupid beyond belief. And not only did I find it to be true, he was also a University student...
Not only that, I also discovered a person who was an advocate against the mandatory helmet laws for motorcyclists who ended up being killed because he was ejected from his motorcycle and hit his head, killing him. Even more ironic was that he was in a protest ride decrying mandatory helmet laws...

talking and texting while driving aside, in Ohio you don't even have to wear a helmet on a motorcycle by law. It just varies state to state. The smart people are the ones who have figure out that it's a bad idea to drive distracted and ride their bikes with helmets.

I wonder how many studies are needed before we start seeing texting while driving for the hazard that it is: equal to if not more dangerous than drinking while driving.

I just watched a GIF on failblog of a limo? driver in China looking around for witnesses and, when clear, pulling out his phone. Seven seconds later, BOOM.

One thing from this article that worries me(besides the ALL of points everyone here else just mentioned) is there are places that only ban YOUNG drivers from texting. Not only do you still have older drivers who can get away with being equally distracted as long as the don't hit something, but you will also have a generation about to earn that privilege to text and drive freely who are even more likely to do it as they grew up texting.

lee1287:
I've got an AUX cable, and i hold my phone for flicking through songs, i'd like to say that's not bad, but i think i'd get pulled over, even though i take my eyes off the road for about half a second at a time.

That's what frustrates me about these laws. There shouldn't be anything functionally different than doing that from tuning your radio, yet we still have radios in cars. Really, the distracted driving laws should be enough to cover these issues, and not demonize the devices themselves.

what really strike me as news that there still exists states where texting and driving is legal.

Rhykker:

I think it's a matter of policy not being to keep up with technology. New technologies emerge quickly; new laws can take very long to come into effect, as bureaucracy can slow things down.

Its not. Mobile phones were around for a while now. its been illegal to text and drive here for before i even got my license in 2008. policy can and should be kept up, if it isnt then the one making policy should be fired and a better person hired.

and yes, if bureaucracy slow things down for decades - do away with such bureaucracy. we saw where slow reaction bureaucracy leads - mass starvation during economic crysis.

Signa:

lee1287:
I've got an AUX cable, and i hold my phone for flicking through songs, i'd like to say that's not bad, but i think i'd get pulled over, even though i take my eyes off the road for about half a second at a time.

That's what frustrates me about these laws. There shouldn't be anything functionally different than doing that from tuning your radio, yet we still have radios in cars. Really, the distracted driving laws should be enough to cover these issues, and not demonize the devices themselves.

That's what I like about the UK, even though we have laws specifically for phones, if the police catch you doing anything with your hands other than controlling the vehicle you are deemed to "not be in proper control of a motor vehicle" or somesuch and you'll get a slapped wrist/fine/points depending on the context.

Well, this comes as no surprise. People should never do ANYTHING that takes their eyes away from DRIVING. I can't imagine what sort of things people could think is more important than properly controlling their self-propelled BATTERING RAM.

Honestly. The whole, not implementing very easy laws which removes some convenience in return for safety is something the U.S is very big on.

It's the same reason they've yet to outlaw transfats despite that probably saving ten times more people than banning texting would.

-insert americans are fat joke here-

The Department of Transportation, among other bodies and the general public at large, is concerned about texting while driving, which is very dangerous. Most states have texting while driving laws which which prevents it form happening, but the DOT has thrown $550,000 toward researching whether such regulations have an impact. So far, police in a number of states have not been able to catch too many people who are texting while driving though most are still likely doing it. We might need some quick cash to be able to pay for the tickets or the damages. As a citizen, we must be responsible enough to be following all sorts of rules and regulations before it is too late.

 

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