A new study shows that law which ban texting while driving have not had a significant impact on curbing the behavior and it hasn’t decreased the amount of car crashes.
The Highway Loss Data Institute compared the crash rates of states with texting while driving laws with states that don’t have these requirements and the results aren’t very pretty for anyone who likes a safe road.
Insurance collision loss experience does not indicate a decline in crash risk when texting laws are enacted. Rather, there appears to have been a small increase in claims in the states enacting texting bans, compared to neighboring states. Partly, this may reflect the difficulty of enforcing texting bans. A national survey by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found little difference between states with and without bans in the proportion of people reporting that they texted while driving. However, lack of compliance by itself would predict no change in crash experience, not an increase as observed in the insurance collision data.
I’ve said it many times before but I don’t think laws are the best way to curb this obviously dangerous behaviors. I don’t necessarily mind these laws though, but we need a multi-pronged strategy.
The biggest hurdle to overcome is awareness. We all know texting while driving is risky but many of us do it anyways because of the convenience. To the industry’s credit, LG and many mobile operators have launched awareness programs to help with this issue.
The technology improvements will also help, as voice-to-speech stuff will make it easier to send an SMS while driving. Sure, the lack of concentration while driving is still bad but at least you’ll have your eyes on the road.
We’re also seeing a ton of mobile apps which try to address this issue. TextArrest and tXtblocker are just two examples of apps which try and limit the SMS abilities while operating a vehicle.
[Read the full report (PDF link]