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Do Texting Bans Really Prevent Georgia Distracted Driving Crashes?

A controversial new report from the Highway Loss Data Institute suggests that texting bans may be ineffective.  In fact, they may even contribute to an increase in distracted driving accidents
 
The research which was presented to the Governors Highway Safety Association compared collision rates in four states with texting bans - California, Louisiana, Minnesota and Washington – with nearby  states in which texting while driving is not prohibited. The researchers also compared collision rates in the four states before and after the ban were imposed.  What they found was a small increase in texting-caused collisions in those states.
 
In Minnesota, crashes increased by 9% after the ban, while there was a 1% increase in Washington.
 
Why are texting while driving bans leading to an increase in car wrecks?
 
According to the study, non-compliance appears to be the issue. Survey results show that many drivers, particularly younger ones, are ignoring the bans.  A survey showed that forty-five percent of 18- to 24-year-olds in states where texting and driving is banned reported to still engage in the practice after the ban, compared with 48% of people in states that have no ban.
 
Instead drivers are moving their phones down and out of sight when they text. This may increase the risk of an accident by taking the drivers' eyes away from the road for longer periods of time.
 
That hypothesis supported by research from the University of Glasgow in Scotland.  Researchers used a driving simulator to determine if heads up displays were safer than heads down texting displays. They found a sharp increase in crash likelihood when drivers looked down to text.
 
The authors of the study suggest that increasing law enforcement efforts and implementing stiffer penalties may convince more drivers to obey the law.  
 
Thirty states and the District of Columbia have banned texting while driving. Texting while driving is illegal in Georgia. 
 
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured by a distracted driver in Georgia, contact a Gwinnett car accident attorney.  Shane Smith’s legal practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of those hurt in Georgia car accidents and helping them to recover fair insurance compensation for their injuries, property damage, medical costs, and other losses.  To learn more, call The Law Offices of Shane Smith at 770-HURT-999 to schedule a free consultation.
 
Get a head start on your Georgia injury claim; download our free book, “10 Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Georgia Wreck Case.”


Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia