Study: Distracted Driving Laws Have Not Reduced Crashes

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By Kamika Dunlap on February 01, 2010 9:45 AM

It seems as though laws banning handheld devices and texting while driving are not producing expected results, according to a latest study released.

Findings from the Highway Loss Data Institute show that crash/accident rates did not go down before and after distracted driving laws were enacted in California, New York, Connecticut and Washington, D.C. In fact, the study also found no change in patterns compared with nearby states without such bans.

The Associated Press reports that the new study raises just as many questions as it answers. The Governors Highway Safety Association is concerned that bans on handheld devices simply encourage more drivers to use handsfree devices, which, it says, are just as risky.

The research shows that after New York's ban took effect in 2001, drivers' usage of handheld phones immediately declined 47%. The usage rate fell 41% in Washington D.C. and 76% in Connecticut. The institute did not have data on cell phone trends in California, which approved its ban in 2008.

As previously discussed, distracted driving can be incredibly dangerous, especially driving and texting.

Researchers who conducted the study say findings don't match what is already known about the risk of phoning and texting while driving.

So far, six states and the District of Columbia ban talking on a hand-held device for all drivers, and 19 states and the District of Columbia ban texting while driving.

Recently, the U.S. Department of Transportation banned bus and commercial truck drivers from texting while driving or using handheld cell phones. Violators can be fined up to $2,750.