01 November 2012

Do bans on texting while driving actually increase accidents? | ksl.com

KSL Utah | Andrew Adams | Do bans on texting while driving actually increase accidents?

It's perplexing for both police and lawmakers throughout the U.S.: They want to do something about the danger of texting while driving, a major road hazard, but banning the practice seems to make it even more dangerous.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that 3 of every 4 states that have enacted a ban on texting while driving have seen crashes actually go up rather than down.

It's hard to pin down exactly why this is the case, but experts believe it is a result of people trying to avoid getting caught in states with stiff penalties. Folks trying to keep their phones out of view will often hold the phone much lower, below the wheel perhaps, in order to keep it out of view. That means the driver's eyes are looking down and away from the road.
This is another example of policy which multiple states have adopted without waiting to see what the effects have been in other states. If I was a PoliSci grad student I think it would be interesting to dig into state house records to see if anyone ever bothers to pay attention to and benefit from the experiments that other states have run.

Via Marginal Revolution

PS Is it really that perplexing for police and lawmakers. Do they have so much hubris, not to mention historical ignorance, that they can't think of a single example of when banning something has made the problem worse?

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