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"No Texting While Driving" Laws Cause More Wrecks Study Shows

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Texting and driving is never a good idea, but do "no texting" laws make the problem worse or better?

Texting bans don't reduce crashes; effects are slight crash increases

ARLINGTON, VA — It's illegal to text while driving in most US states. Yet a new study by researchers at the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) finds no reductions in crashes after laws take effect that ban texting by all drivers. In fact, such bans are associated with a slight increase in the frequency of insurance claims filed under collision coverage for damage to vehicles in crashes. This finding is based on comparisons of claims in 4 states before and after texting ban, compared with patterns of claims in nearby states.

The new findings, released today at the annual meeting of the Governors Highway Safety Association, are consistent with those of a previous HLDI study, which found that banning hand-held phone use while driving doesn't cut crashes. HLDI is an affiliate of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

HLDI researchers calculated rates of collision claims for vehicles up to 9 years old during the months immediately before and after driver texting was banned in California (January 2009), Louisiana (July 2008), Minnesota (August 2008), and Washington (January 2008). Comparable data were collected in nearby states where texting laws weren't substantially changed during the time span of the study. This controlled for possible changes in collision claim rates unrelated to the bans — changes in the number of miles driven due to the economy, seasonal changes in driving patterns, etc.

"Texting bans haven't reduced crashes at all. In a perverse twist, crashes increased in 3 of the 4 states we studied after bans were enacted. It's an indication that texting bans might even increase the risk of texting for drivers who continue to do so despite the laws," says Adrian Lund, president of both HLDI and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

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Today in Virginia, texting

Today in Virginia, texting while driving becomes a primary infraction and the fine increases from $20 to $150. However, it is still legal to use your phone as a GPS. So, if you are from the Old Dominion and you get pulled for texting while driving, might want to pull up your GPS very quickly.

Bring this back to the front page for today!

this is hilarious,,,

didn't realize this

No matter what the data shows, texting while driving

is a bad idea. Pull over. Nothing is that urgent that anyone has to text and drive.

Lying and adultery are also

Lying and adultery are also bad ideas, we don't need laws and fines to know we shouldn't do them.

Interesting data. Although I

Interesting data.

Although I personally can't stand it when I see folks texting while driving (had one near miss with such a driver recently and it's illegal in my town), it seems a little reactionary to ban a driving distraction just because it's the hot issue of the day. What about people who consult maps while driving, people who argue while driving, fiddle with the stereo, apply makeup, hands snacks to the kids in the backseat, drive tired, keep crap on the dash that slides around, use those hand excersizers or electric raisers, eat lunch? What about banning people who are just crappy drivers when they've got both hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road?

Seems like we jump to fix problems through laws before we know what's what just to be in the popular crowd of other municipalities making such laws. Old fashion shaming might be just as effective. Twice on road trips with girlfriends, I've insisted that the driver stop using her cell phone -- not just texting, but taking pictures of where she's at and sending it to someone, rambling perpetual conversations, flipping through playlists. I said I'd either take over the driving or get out, if she didn't put it down and keep it down. On the other hand, I've been a passenger when the driver fiddled with her phone and I did not feel like it created a hazard. So much depends on the driver and the circumstances. It comes down to good judgement.

If we make laws that ban drivers who use good judgement and who are able to drive well in the first place, we continue to train people to believe that laws are a replacement for judgement. Then you get people who wait at a red light at 4 in the morning when they're no other cars in sight. The same people who will just go if the light is green without looking for cars. We train people to replace the trappings and the laws with the actual threat and their own judgement. I fear that we'll just continue to train out judgement. More people who think that if the speed limit says 65, that means it's okay to go 65 in a blizzard and black ice.

It's like any other prohibition

Utterly unworkable.

People who text & drive in such states are not criminals, of course. It is most definitely the inanity of words-on-paper which causes the increase in accidents, as people go from texting while looking out for traffic to texting while looking out both for traffic and especially for the legalized plunderers among the traffic.

No texting laws do not...

No texting laws do not cause more wrecks. People that try to avoid being detected while they are breaking the laws are causing more wrecks. People are the problem not the law. Personal responsibility has to come into place first. And only after the true, core issue has been addressed can you honestly address the issue. It is called personal responsibility and not liberty.
Anyone that engages in any type of distracting behavior, be it using a cell phone or texting is showing a total disregard for the safety of all of those on the road. And I do not give you my permission to put my life in danger. Pull over and get the hell off the road and do what you have to do. Don't be so selfish and arrogant to think that you have a "right" to endanger others.


No one is making the argument that people aren't the problem...

You're correct. It's most definitely a culture and people problem. My issue is with our tendency to immediately and exclusively run to bureaucrats to "do something," which almost 100% of the time involves a new law that will indeed have unintended consequences.

The idea that a law will stop someone from being a moron is also moronic, in my opinion. The answer isn't a new "no-texting" law. It's education among other things...

Look at the "Quit Smoking" campaign. They didn't make smoking illegal, although there has been a trend recently in cities, but even before that trend, smoking was down. And it wasn't because of new laws. It was because of an education campaign.

I'm a serial entrepreneur and liberty activist from Texas!



I've thought this for a while. Glad someone addressed it.

My only gripe with these

My only gripe with these testers is their tendency to slow down traffic and not give way unless you honk really hard.

I think the dailypaul in general is strongly against the concept of a pre-crime. But the issue is not so simple.

Consider for example that I blindfold myself and get into a car and start driving as fast as I can. Wouldn't such an act warrant an intervention by the state?

So to create a proper balance between regulation and freedom, we must examine each issue and decide the pros and cons without veering to either extreme.

same debate with required car insurance laws

I don't like being "required" to do anything. Just my nature.

Getting behind wheel of car isn't like feeding yourself GMO crap foods. You can impede the ability of someone to pursue their happiness and thus violate the Constitution. You must be held responsible for this.

If someone doesn't have insurance, there is no recourse. Liability at the least should be required.

Now, with texting, as long as insurance is required there is no need to make it illegal. Let the jackasses text and pay out in insurance when they screw up.

And if they kill you, who care?

It's comparable to DUI's, should we just let the insurance handle it through higher fees?

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.
John Adams

There's no law

against driving blindfolded, but I don't do it... out of self preservation. You cannot legislate behavior. We must all be responsible for ourselves.

I know where you're coming

I know where you're coming from, but I would be putting other people in danger wouldn't I?

For example if I started a meth lab in my backyard right adjacent to a neighbour's property, do you prosecute me for engaging in risky behaviour or wait for me to blow up the neighborhood and then prosecute the few parts of me that are left from the explosion.

Like I said, its not a simple issue.

They're trying to pass this

They're trying to pass this in Houston. If you don't understand that your life is in your hands, not an HPD officer patrolling to make sure you are being 'safe', then you cannot be helped. People are going to text and talk regardless if it is law or not, and now they'll just do it when no cop is in view or quickly hide it if they pass one.

It is like red light cameras, they don't prevent people running the light, it just charges them for it.

Southern Agrarian

Education > Laws

Folks, don't text and drive. It's very dangerous and you can KILL yourself or others. Educate/remind your family and friends, don't text someone if you know they are driving, and for godsake, pull the fck over if you need to use your phone. Laws will not fix behavior, but education can!


What did people do before cell phones?

(They waited to get home and called the person from a land-line. Ah, the good old days. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.)

And the law isn't causing more accidents - it's disobeying the law that's causing more accidents. There wouldn't need to be a law if people would use common sense and have respect for each other. Your freedoms should never harm another person...Golden Rule mentality.

The law cannot make a wicked person virtuous…God’s grace alone can accomplish such a thing.
Ron Paul - The Revolution

Setting a good example is a far better way to spread ideals than through force of arms. Ron Paul

Forwarded to my PD. Florida

Forwarded to my PD. Florida is thinking about a new set of laws our officers will be burdened with.

If you have an opportunity to attend a public hearing...

...it's important to show up and testify against these bills.


Found that link...the lobbyists who benefit from this bill will definitely be there speaking in support.

I'm a serial entrepreneur and liberty activist from Texas!