Distracted driving bans: Do they make roads safer?

Reducing crash rates has been the focus of state lawmakers who instituted bans on using phones while driving, but a new study suggests that the bans aren't having their intended effect

Distracted driving bans may not reduce accident rates, a new Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study suggests.

Saving lives is the primary goal of distracted-driving legislation, but lowering accident rates would have the added effect of reducing auto insurance costs.

According to IIHS president Adrian Lund, "The the new findings don't match what we already know about the risk of phoning and texting while driving."

Separate studies have linked handheld device use to a significantly higher risk of incurring a serious accident, and bans have been shown to decrease cell use. But accident rates aren't declining in states that have banned distracted driving.

The findings suggest that simply banning distracted driving may not be sufficient to make the roads safer. In all likelihood, it will take the involvement of drivers for accident rates to be measurably decreased. By driving the speed limit and being defensive, motorists can do their part to prevent accidents from happening.

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Posted: January 29, 2010

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