Do Text Messaging Bans Actually Increase the Number of Collisions Caused by Distracted Drivers?
Our Atlanta personal injury lawyers at Montlick and Associates are committed to increasing public awareness concerning the dangers of text messaging when operating a motor vehicle. Our law firm has an extensive public service campaign for several years now that combines tv messages, billboards, news segments and articles on the internet in an attempt to discourage this extremely unsafe driving practice. While many states including Georgia have enacted bans on text messaging while driving, a study that some will find surprising reveals why laws prohibiting texting and driving are not a sufficient answer to the problem.
The study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and reported in the USA Today suggests that bans on texting and driving have had little impact on accident rates involving distracted drivers. At the time of the research, thirty states and the District of Columbia had banned the practice while eleven more states had enacted legislation that was set to take effect shortly after the study. The researchers compared the volume of insurance accident claims prior to and after enacting the ban in four separate states. The IIHS found that the number of accidents actually increased after the texting ban was enacted in three of the states.
The researchers suggest that policymakers need to re-evaluate their texting and driving ban laws because they do not appear particularly effective at preventing auto accidents according to the USA Today report. The authors theorize that the probability of being caught and the resulting penalties are not significant enough to discourage this form of hazardous driving. The researchers suggest that rather than preventing texting behind the wheel, the laws simply encourage drivers to lower their phones while texting so that their eyes are diverted even further from the roadway.
Because cell phone-related car crashes are a serious risk, laws designed to deter texting drivers must become more stringent and additional strategies may be appropriate. If the penalties for texting and driving become more comparable to the consequences for a DUI offense, text messaging bans may deter this form of dangerous driving behavior. However, public service campaigns and education programs aimed at both teen drivers and adults may need to become more widespread. The large number of people that still engage in this dangerous practice evidences the need for more education about the risks. Approximately 37 percent of drivers admitted that they text and drive in a Health Day poll.
The automotive industry and government regulatory agencies also are exploring technology-based solutions that might disable cell phone signals when a vehicle’s ignition is turned on. Because Montlick and Associates is committed to promoting highway safety for those in our community, we urge all drivers to abstain from using their cell phone or other portable electronic devices when operating a motor vehicle.
If you or someone close to you has been injured in a Georgia car accident caused by a driver who is text messaging, our Atlanta personal injury attorneys at Montlick and Associates are committed to seeking fair compensation for victims. Our Georgia personal injury attorneys are available to provide effective legal representation to those throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.
No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.