Study Shows that Banning Texting while Driving Reduces Car Accidents
There is now widespread agreement that texting while driving is a serious distraction that can increase the chances of an injury. But will the number of motorists injured in car accidents decline if a state passes a ban?
According to a story reported in UPI, the answer is “yes.” Reporting on a study from Texas A&M University, UPI reported that states which have implemented bans on texting saw 8% fewer motorists in the emergency room after a crash. These bans not only save lives, but they save everyone money as well.
Should Florida Increase Enforcement?
As we reported a few weeks ago, Florida is considering a ban on distracted driving. As part of the legal overhaul, the state would make holding a cell phone a primary ban. This means that an officer could pull a motorist over if they saw the motorist holding a phone while driving.
Currently, texting while driving is only a secondary ban in Florida, which means that the officer can give the driver a ticket for texting but can only pull them over for a different violation, like speeding. You can find the law at Florida statute 316.305.
Researchers found that states reaped the most benefits when they implemented a primary ban—and when they strictly enforced it. States that had primary bans saw 1,600 fewer emergency room visits every year.
If Florida makes texting a primary ban, then the number of emergency room visits, injuries, and deaths should fall. Researchers were quick to caution that their findings are tentative and that there might be more at play to explain the apparent decline in emergency room visits. But the results are certainly encouraging.
Something Must Be Done
Florida has a duty to take reasonable measures to increase the public’s safety, and adopting a primary ban on texting would certainly help. As reported by the Sun Sentinel last year, Florida seems to be in the grips of a texting-while-driving crisis.
Although police cite cell phones in only 1% of accident reports, other statistics suggest that many drivers are on their phones when they crash. For example, these types of careless driving accidents have increased dramatically over the past few years:
- Ignoring Road signs: increased 34%
- Improperly passing a vehicle: up 47%
- Running a stop sign: up 48%
- Drifting into another lane: increased 50%
Motorists also have an obvious incentive not to admit that they were texting while driving, since that admission could be used to prove they were at fault. However, all indications are that texting while driving will remain a serious problem until Florida’s legislature and Governor act.
Speak with a Volusia County Car Accident Lawyer Today
Bundza & Rodriguez is a leader in our community, representing the interests of those motorists injured in collisions. If you have suffered an injury, you might be entitled to compensation to cover your losses. Please reach out to us today.