Do texting bans reduce the number of crashes?

ATLANTA – Does banning texting while behind the wheel cut down on the number of crashes?

Apparently not, according to a new survey from the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI).

“Texting bans haven’t reduced crashes at all,” Adrian Lund, president of both HLDI and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, said in a news release. “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.”

A number of states, including Georgia, have implemented laws prohibiting motorists from texting while driving.
Under Georgia’s new law, which went into effect July 1, anyone convicted of texting while driving will face a fine of up to $150. Meanwhile, another new law prohibits teens under the age of 18 years old from using cell phones while behind the wheel.

“The point of texting bans is to reduce crashes, and by this essential measure the laws are ineffective,” Lund said. However, “finding no reduction in crashes, or even a small increase, doesn’t mean it’s safe to text and drive, though. There’s a crash risk associated with doing this. It’s just that bans aren’t reducing this crash risk.”

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