Study Shows Cell Phone Bans Haven’t Cut Crashes

HAMILTON – A study released last week by the Highway Loss Data Institute, a research arm of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, found that states with laws which ban hand-held cell phone use while driving have not seen a reduction in crashes.

The study analyzed collision claims in the months immediately before and after hand-held bans were enacted in four jurisdictions – California, Connecticut, New York, and the District of Columbia.  That data was compared to that of nearby jurisdictions without such bans and found that hand-held bans had no effect in crash trends, in comparing before versus after such bans were enacted.

“This new study reinforces a long-held AAA concern that hand-held cell phone bans have little or no impact,” stated Tracy E. Noble spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “This is in large part because such bans cause drivers to rely on still-risky, hands-free cell phones and research shows that hands-free phones offer no real safety advantages over hand-held phones.

The distracting factor is and continues to be the conversation – not holding the device,” Noble added.

In fact, a recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety showed that talking on a cell phone while driving—regardless of whether it’s hand-held or hands-free, quadruples one’s chances of being involved in a crash. “If bans on handheld cell phone use are merely pushing drivers to adopt the use of hands-free products, then it’s really no surprise that we are seeing little to no change in road safety,” said Noble.

In New Jersey the hand held cell phone/texting ban has been a primary offence since March 1, 2008.

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