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Do Texting & Driving Bans Increase Auto Safety?

The battle over texting and driving is not yet over for some Texas lawmakers.

According to the news, lawmakers in the lone star state are trying to push legislation that would make texting and driving illegal across the state. Lawmakers voted to criminalize the behavior in 2011, however, the Governor vetoed the bill before it made into the books.

The reports indicate that multiple cities across the state have already enacted texting and driving bans. Families of victims of accidents caused by distracted drivers and lawmakers gathered to put pressure on state lawmakers and urge a statewide ban. At this moment, 39 states have enacted the texting and driving ban. Lawmakers believe that the state can’t rely on personal responsibility any longer. Many lives are being lost because of distracted drivers.

After the push for the statewide ban, researchers at the Texas Transportation Institute have decided to study how slow the driver’s reaction is when he or she is texting while behind the wheel. Results show that, while texting and driving, motorists took about 3 to 4 seconds to respond to varied situations, which could mean a long way when driving at 60 mph. Distracted driving is, without a doubt, dangerous, according to the study.  Safety advocates believe that the ban can help to lower the number of accidents, which prompted another research.

According to another study carried out by the Highway Loss Data Institute, the accident rates associated with accidents in Louisiana, California, Minnesota and Washington were studied in order to verify if the texting ban helped to lower the number of accidents in these states or not. Data concerning accidents prior to the state bans and crashes that occurred after the ban show that crash rates did not go down once the ban was enacted. According to the researchers, in three of the states that participated in the study, the number of accidents actually went up.

Although the study did not provide details regarding the factors that led to the increase in the number of accidents, researchers noted that the numbers started going up once the texting and driving bans were enacted.

Reports also showed that the number of accidents went up among young drivers, who are the most likely to text and drive.

According to some of the researchers, the ban, which was supposed to change the driver’s behavior, may have worsened it, leading to the increase in the number of accidents. Some researchers believe that drivers may be attempting to conceal their behavior, which forces them to keep their eyes off the road for longer than they would if they were able to hold their phone up on the steering wheel.

Up to this moment, studies are still being carried out and researchers are looking into what may have caused the increase in the number of auto accidents in some of the states that enacted the ban. Automakers are also developing more technology to address the issue and make vehicles safer by keeping drivers from being distracted.

To learn more about this subject, click here for the full report.

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The Vachon Law Firm is based in Southern California and focuses exclusively on consumer protection litigation.