Texting Bans don't reduce Crashes

November 30, 2012

Texting bans don't reduce crashes but actually increase the frequency of the number of insurance claims, according to the Highway Loss Data Institute. HLDI compared claims in four states (California, Louisiana, Washington, and Minnesota) before and after texting was made illegal and used nearby states for comparison.

In all four states, crashes increased among drivers younger than aged 25 after the ban took effect. Noncompliance is a likely reason texting bans aren't reducing crashes.

Many drivers, especially younger ones, ignore bans.

Among 18-24-year-olds, the group most likely to text, 45 percent reported doing so anyway. HLDI points out that if drivers were disregarding the bans, then the crash patterns should have remained steady.

So clearly drivers did respond to the bans somehow, and what they might have been doing was moving their phones down and out of sight when they texted, in recognition that what they were doing was illegal. This could exacerbate the risk of texting by taking drivers' eyes further from the road and for a longer time.

- Highway & Vehicle/Safety Report 10.18.10.p2