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Do Cell Phone Bans Work? New Research Says Maybe Not.

Using a hand-held cell phone while driving is illegal in California, but a new report, Distracted Driving: What Research Shows and What States Can Do, says that cell phone bans may not effectively reduce CA distracted driving crashes. In fact, such bans may even increase the risk of accidents due to distraction.
The 40-page report was developed by the Governors Highway Safety Association and other safety agencies and was funded by State Farm Insurance.  It summarizes all the research available on distracted driving as of January 2011 and makes recommendations to employers, automobile manufacturers and government officials in order to effectively reduce distracted driving accidents. It especially focuses on distractions caused by cell phones and text messaging.
Highlights of the report:
  • Distraction definitely effects driver performance.
  • Distracted driving is associated with 15-25% of accidents.
  • Two-thirds of all drivers report using a cell phone while driving.
  • Distraction is a pervasive problem. Drivers may be distracted during as much as half their driving time.
  • Drivers adapt by avoiding distractions and paying more attention in dangerous situations.
  • Cell phones and texting devices increase car crash risk.
  • There is no conclusive evidence to show that hand-free cellphones are safer than hand-held cellphones.
  • It is probable that texting creates a higher crash risk than cell phone use, but there is no conclusive evidence that texting is riskier than other forms of cell phone use.
  • Texting bans do not reduce accident claims. In fact, accident claims increased slightly in states with texting bans as compared to neighboring states.
However, the report encourages all states to enact texting bans.  Why do this if bans don't work?

Researchers believe the problem is that texters realize that texting bans are difficult to enforce.  They continue to text because they are not afraid of getting caught, or texters hide their phones below the steering wheel increasing their level of distraction.
In addition to enacting and enforcing texting and cell phone bans, the authors of the report advise that states use low-cost roadway countermeasures such as rumble strips, which alert motorists who are drifting out of their driving lane. The report also suggests that programs be created to educate drivers and employers about the risk of distracted driving.
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured by a distracted driver in Southern California, contact a Newport Beach car accident attorney at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis and Leslie.   Our Newport Beach car accident attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of those injured in California highway accidents and helping California accident victims recover fair insurance compensation for their losses. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact Allen, Flatt, Ballidis and Leslie at 866-981-5596.
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