A nonprofit organization funded by the auto insurance has conducted a study that says that the introduction of laws which ban cell phone use while driving may not significantly lessen the risk of accidents on the road.
Highway Loss Data Institute, the organization responsible for the study which was published in late January, says that the problem may actually lie with ‘distracted drivers’ themselves.
Monthly collision claims take from four US states which bans cell phone use while driving were the focus for the research. Comparisons were made before and after the bans took effect in the respective states.
The four states included California, Washington, D.C., Connecticut, and New York. For comparison’s sake, date was also collected from neighboring states without bans. The results showed that the rate of car accidents did not change significantly even after the bans were implemented.
However, the ban did succeed in prompting more drivers to use hands-free gadgets to be able to answer or make calls while on the road. The study revealed that there ‘is ‘no indication’ that these devices mitigated the occurrence of car collisions.
Spokesman for Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Russ Rader said that since hands-free devices didn’t contribute to the risk factor, the issue may be pinned on the ‘distracted driver.’
These distractions, other than the cell phone, may include the car radio, selecting songs on a digital music player, using a Global Positioning system, eating while driving, rummaging through a purse or a wallet for change, or even talking to fellow passengers all have the potential to cause car accidents.
Rader said that the research proves that cell phones do not appear to be adding to the distractions which collectively, in some way or another, cause crashes on the road.
Currently, 89% of all Americans own a cell phone.
Late last month, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced legislations that do not permit commercial bus and truck drivers to text while driving.
In the US, there are six states, aside those mentioned above, including New Jersey and Oregon, and the Virgin Islands which bans car driver from talking on their phones while on the road. The District of Columbia and Guam, plus 19 other states, now prohibit text messaging for all car owners.
Car manufacturers still continue to develop other ‘distractions’ added on to cars with internet-connectivity, streaming television, and even Wireless Fidelity capabilities.
Rader said that technology is by all means welcome to any would-be consumer, but it may in someway aid in making the driver less distracted amidst the influx of entertainment gadgets and increased navigation capabilities.