Last updated: September 28, 2010 - 8:48am
Laws banning texting while driving actually may prompt a slight increase in road crashes, research out today shows. The findings, to be unveiled at a meeting here of 550 traffic safety professionals from around the USA, come amid a heightened national debate over distracted driving.
"Texting bans haven't reduced crashes at all," says Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, whose research arm studied the effectiveness of the laws. Thirty states and the District of Columbia ban texting while driving; 11 of the laws were passed this year. The assertion that those efforts are futile will be a major issue at this week's annual meeting here of the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). Researchers at the Highway Loss Data Institute compared rates of collision insurance claims in four states — California, Louisiana, Minnesota and Washington — before and after they enacted texting bans. Crash rates rose in three of the states after bans were enacted. The Highway Loss group theorizes that drivers try to evade police by lowering their phones when texting, increasing the risk by taking their eyes even further from the road and for a longer time.
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