Saturday, January 30, 2010

Banning cell use while driving has NOT reduced accidents

Link
The thought was, of course that if law were passed that decreased cellphone use, then there should be fewer crashes. But that was not the case.

“You know that there should be fewer,” he said. “We were looking for that, and we aren’t seeing that pattern,” said Mr. Lund, who is also the insurance institute’s president.

This is the first look at crashes in California, New York, Connecticut and Washington since they passed bans on hand-held cellphone use while driving. One reason Mr. Lund was so surprised was that the institute had previously conducted research that showed that drivers talking on cellphones seemed to be four times as likely to crash.

The new study, which was completed in December, looked at crashes (and not just at those involving cellphones) in those four places and found no decrease in accidents, despite the bans’ having reduced the use of hand-held cellphones 41 to 76 percent. The researchers obtained those numbers by going out to street corners and exit ramps to observe how many people had cellphones up to their ears before the bans compared with after the bans.

“We can’t even see a blip in the data for crashes,” said Mr. Lund. Furthermore, there was no indication that increased cellphone use was resulting in more crashes nationwide, despite what studies and common sense would indicate.