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Texting and Driving Ban Appears to Make Things Worse

If lawmakers were required to fully contemplate and understand the outcome of every bill that made its way through legislative byways and to the governor's desk, it would be impossible to create law. Legislatures generally intend to promote law and policy that benefit the public good. And in response to distracted driving fatalities, many state legislatures have passed texting and driving bans.

As it happens, these bans appear to have made the rate of car accidents worse. According to a research report done last month, distracted driving fatalities caused by mobile phone use and texting soared from 2005 to 2008.

If there is a law, people will a find a way to flout it, especially if the infraction is so easy to flout. A recent study shows that motorists continue to text while driving, but they're doing it with their mobile phones on their laps, rather than in plain view of the window for the cops to see.

A mobile phone on one's lap still means eyes off the road, and for a longer period of time than if the driver were to text at eye level. Even worse, law enforcement officials seem not to be aggressively enforcing existing mobile phone bans--even those that existed prior to the recent texting while driving bans. The texting bans seem to exacerbate an already serious problem, as federal data shows that between the years of 2001 and 2007, texting while driving led to 16,000 deaths.

Sources:

  • U-Turn: Texting Bans May Increase Car Crash Rate, Study Finds
  • Texting Taking a Deadly Toll on Roads

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