A study came out a few days ago which indicated that bans on texting while driving has not led to a decrease in car crashes. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was not happy about this study and he’s firing back.
In a blog post, LaHood questioned the authenticity of the study, which was conducted by a non-profit with auto insurance industry ties.
The Highway Loss Data Institute, an affiliate of IIHS, is now saying that state anti-texting laws may actually “increase” the overall number of crashes statewide. There are numerous flaws with this “study,” but the most obvious is that they have created a cause and effect that simply doesn’t exist.
This “study” is also inconsistent with research that HLDI-IIHS has relied on in the past, showing that drivers are four times as likely to crash if using a handheld device while driving. What’s more, they don’t actually take into account whether distracted driving behavior went up or down in the four hand-picked states they looked at.
I did look over the study and found it to be pretty well conducted. The report never really said that these laws are harmful but it used data to show that there was no correlation between banning texting while driving and decreased car crashes – the why’s and how’s are left up to interpretation.
LaHood also points out that the study didn’t take into account enforcement, as many of these laws are enacted without teeth. He pointed to a few areas like Syracuse where there have been demonstrable drops in cell phone usage while driving when there is a strong enforcement effort.
We all know that texting while driving can be dangerous, as another study found it led to 16,000 deaths over a six year period. I believe it’s going to take a combination of laws, enforcement, behavior changes and better technology to fully address this issue.
[Via Daily Tech]