Do Texting Bans Cause More Accidents?
We all know that texting and driving is a huge problem. Becoming distracted while driving by taking your hands off of the wheel and your eyes off of the road to use an electronic device can cause serious accidents. More and more states are implementing complete bans on texting while driving, as Georgia did in 2010. However, a recent study shows that in some states where these bans have gone into effect, the rate of auto accidents has actually increased.
A surprising 2010 survey by the Highway Loss Data Institute showed that in three of four states where texting bans were implemented, the number of crashes has increased since the bans were passed. This increase in accidents may be caused by the law itself, as drivers lower their phones onto their laps in an effort to avoid detection by law enforcement. Unfortunately, doing that just causes a greater danger, as drivers remove their eyes from the road for even longer periods of time as they look down into their laps.
Richmond County sheriff’s lieutenant Randy Prickett agrees with the study’s findings, and told local media outlets that he has seen drivers lowering their phones to avoid getting caught by police. According to Prickett, it is difficult to actually enforce the law as a police officer must actually see the driver texting in order to issue a ticket. 17 tickets were issued in Richmond County in 2011 for texting while driving, Prickett said.
In Columbia County, no tickets were issued last year. Police have a policy to warn drivers for their first incident rather than write them a ticket, in an effort to to educate drivers on the law. Texting while driving is illegal for everyone in Georgia, and drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using a cell phone at all. Georgia is one of 37 states plus the District of Columbia who have banned texting while driving.
While most people agree that texting while driving is a problem, many still do it. The AAA Foundation Traffic Safety Culture Index showed that while 95% of drivers thought texting while driving was a serious problem, 35% of those same people admitted to doing it in the last month.
Ty Wilson is a Georgia distracted driving lawyer who is dedicated to educating the public on distracted driving and Georgia personal injury claims. Visit tywilsonlaw.com to read his many articles, blog posts, watch his videos and order his FREE books and reports.
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