Cellphone Curbs May Not Decrease Car Crashes
Laws that forbid motorists from using hand-held phones or texting while driving don’t appear to result in a significant decrease in vehicle crashes, according to a new study by the Highway Loss Data Institute.
The HLDI, a research organization sponsored by the insurance industry, studied data on monthly collision claims in four states that banned the use of hand-held phones by motorists before and after the bans went into effect. The HLDI also compared collision data from states that enacted bans on driving while texting or phoning to accident claims in states that didn’t enact such bans.
In New York, HLDI said its researchers found that collision claims decreased compared to other states, but the decrease began before the state’s ban on hand-held phoning took effect.
The HLDI data don’t show whether drivers involved in accidents were using cellphones at the time. But the HLDI said in a statement « reductions in observed phone use following bans are so substantial and estimated effects of phone use on crash risk are so large that reductions in aggregate crashes would be expected. »
Adrian Lund, president of the HLDI and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, said in a statement that the finding « doesn’t augur well for any safety payoff from all the new laws that ban phone use and texting while driving. »