Texting While Driving Laws and Unintended Consequences

Recent evidence seems to show that anti-texting laws are not helping the problem. In fact, states that passed laws making texting while driving illegal have seen an increase in texting-related car accidents. This new research is of particular importance to drivers in 30 states that have passed laws banning texting while driving.

Texting Laws Could Increase Danger

The study suggests that the problem with anti-texting laws is drivers’ refusal to follow them. Rather than pull over to send messages safely, drivers become even more dangerous as they try to avoid being caught. Texting drivers tend to move their phones down away from the sight of passing police officers. This means the driver must look down instead of ahead at the roadway.

Results from States with Texting Laws

Of the four states that passed anti-texting laws last year, three experienced an increase in texting-related auto accidents, based on insurance company records. California, Washington, Minnesota, and Louisiana all banned texting while driving near the end of last year. The Highway Loss Data Institute compared texting accident rates dated before the laws were passed with data covering the period after the laws were passed.

The study showed a small but distinct rise in the number of accidents immediately after the laws went into effect. California showed the largest increase in accident claims, especially among younger drivers. Based on the study, the Highway Loss Data Institute issued a report concluding that anti-texting laws were largely ineffective.

Enforcement could be an Issue

The Highway Loss Data Institute report also suggests that texting laws are failing because police fail to enforce them. Officers rarely stop drivers on suspicion of texting. Drivers have also become better at hiding their phones while they text. Police may have difficulty determining if the driver is texting or engaged in other legal activities behind the wheel. The reluctance of officers to stop drivers for texting adds to the sense that the laws are not working.

Younger Drivers Affected Most

Of drivers who insist on texting while driving, most are younger than 25. Although older drivers use text message too, younger drivers are more likely to be involved in accidents. Most likely, younger drivers have higher texting accident rates because they lack experience. Focusing on driving alone may be more important for young drivers who have not yet mastered the road.

Younger drivers also tend to engage in riskier behaviors, believing they can handle texting and driving at the same time. This risky attitude, coupled with lax law enforcement may be the main reasons that texting has become a bigger problem than before the laws were passed.

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If you were injured in an accident by a texting driver, contact our office for help. We will provide a free evaluation of your case and inform you of your legal rights. We will fight tirelessly to be certain you win the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

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