A new study from Texas A&M revealed that sixteen (16) states that have enacted a complete ban on texting and driving saw a 4% decrease in emergency room visits. The study looked at emergency room data from these states from 2007 through 2014. The results were published in the American Journal of Public Health this week.
Alva Ferdinand, lead author of the study, a lawyer, and an assistant professor of health policy at the School of Public Health at Texas A&M University, stated this about complete texting bans: “The law can be a very useful public health intervention. There are lives that can be saved and injuries prevented as a result of these laws,”
In 2016, nearly 3,500 people lost their lives and 391,000 were injured but survived a crash related to distracted driving, including texting, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
I have been writing about this issue off and on over the last half dozen years. I have mentioned over and over that we will not see a decrease in car accidents and traffic fatalities until there are actual deterrents to texting and driving. A mere fine, by itself, will not prevent drivers from picking up their phones while in traffic. There needs to be actual teeth in the legislation. This means a total ban, along with the threat of a moving violation with hefty fines. If drivers are aware that they could see points on their driving record, along with the threat of paying serious money for violating the law, then they are more likely to put their phones away while behind the wheel. These research findings are refreshing to me and a validation of what experts around the country have been saying for years.
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