On Tuesday, I posted a recent report about road fatalities due to texting and talking on cell phones while driving.
Yesterday, there was a short piece in the Cleveland Leader about some research conducted by the Highway Loss Data Institute that shows crash rates may actually increase when bans against texting are put in place (Mike made the same point in the combox of my original post):
The HLDI research showed that crash rates rose in three out of four states after texting bans were implemented Adrian Lund, president of HLDI and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says:
“Texting bans haven’t reduced crashes at all. In a perverse twist, crashes increased in three of the four states we studied after bans were enacted.
It’s an indication that texting bans might even increase the risk of texting for drivers who continue to do so despite the laws.” By moving their phones lower down out of site, the driver’s eyes are diverted further from the road and dash for longer periods of time.
Of course, 30 states have banned texting while driving, including Washington D.C., so just looking at four states doesn’t give us enough information to come to any clear conclusions. Nevertheless, if most states that have banned texting see an increase in crashes, that would certainly indicate that legislation is not the way to go. As I wrote on Tuesday, I think it’s just as important — and probably more so — to create an ongoing shame campaign (similar to the anti-drunk driving efforts) if we want to see any real change in behavior. The law may not dissuade someone from texting and driving, but social stigma might.