Do anti-phone laws actually work?

There's more evidence than ever that cellphones and driving are two things that shouldn't go together.

As a result of the problems with distracted driving, there are lots of state and local ordinances out there prohibiting the use of cellphones while behind the wheel.

Do they actually work? Is it time to try something else?

The data says that anti-phone laws don't work

The newest data indicates that cellphones are a factor in 52 percent of all roadway accidents.

In addition, researchers found out that it really doesn't make much difference whether the driver lives in a state with anti-phone laws or not. For every 100 miles a driver is on the road, he or she will spend 3.17 minutes using a phone if the state bans all handheld use. That's only marginally better than the 3.82 minutes drivers spend on their phones when they live in states where there's no law against it.

It's a worrisome set of statistics. Add in the fact that the younger generations are acclimated to using their phones all the time, and it's hardly any wonder that 11 teenagers die each day while texting and driving.

Feedback may be a better method of controlling behavior

What does make a difference, surprisingly, may be approaching the behavior one cellphone at a time.

The same company that did the research on cellphones and driving used the data to give individual drivers feedback on what they were doing wrong. They found that feedback from data accumulated on those phones (and maybe the fact that someone was watching) was actually successful at reducing distracted driving by 40 percent in two month's time.

Ultimately, however, that may still not be enough. It may take cellphones that turn themselves off in a moving car or some other technological invention to really stop distracted driving in its tracks.

Until someone finds a solution, the victims of drivers distracted by their cellphones are encouraged to seek legal assistance. If you've been injured in a car accident through someone else's negligence, it's important to understand your rights to compensation.

Source: The Washington Post, "More evidence that smartphones and driving don't mix," Fredrick Kunkle, accessed Jan. 31, 2018

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