Texting While Driving Bans Show Improvement On Accident Rates
A total of sixteen states, along with Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have laws prohibiting the use of hand-held cell phones while driving. 47 states even have laws banning text messaging while driving. Many of these laws have been placed into effect due to the increased incidence of fatal motor vehicle accidents that are caused by, at least in part, people using their cell phones while driving. In some states, if a person is using a cell phone while driving and is in an accident involving injuries, they may be charged with a felony offense. Many of these laws have been successful in reducing the number of car crashes, according to Pix 11 New York.
Researchers examined the data from hospital emergency departments between 2007 and 2014. For the purposes of choosing which states to sample data from, only states which reported crash information where passengers and drivers required an emergency visit was considered.
According to the results that were published on Thursday in the American Journal of Public Health, the states that had texting bans saw a 4% reduction in emergency department visits related to traffic crashes. The states that implemented primary bans no matter the age or intent of the driver saw an 8% reduction in ER visits.
A primary ban generally indicates that if a driver is seen by law enforcement texting while driving, they can be pulled over for that offense alone. In New York, for example, it is illegal for drivers to use any kind of mobile device. Fines for the offense can begin at $50 and go all the way up to $400 for more than three violations.