State laws that ban using hand-held cellphones while driving are more effective than banning texting when it comes to decreasing teens’ use of cellphones while driving, according to a new study from Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
The study found differences in the effectiveness of laws directed at teen drivers’ cellphone use based on the type of ban — hand-held phone conversations or texting — as well as whether the ban applied to young drivers or all drivers.
Teen drivers reported 55 percent fewer hand-held phone conversations when universal hand-held calling bans were in place compared to states with no bans. But bans did not fully discourage teens from texting while driving. Even with bans, about one-third of teen drivers still talk on the phone and text while driving.
Bans limited to just young drivers were not effective in reducing either hand-held conversations or texting.
“Our study shows that universal bans of hand-held cellphone calls while driving can be effective in reducing teens’ hand-held conversations while driving, but texting bans are not effective in reducing texting while driving,” said the study’s lead author Dr. Motao Zhu.
“Nearly all states ban texting while driving, however, these bans are not effective,” Zhu said. “More states should implement hand-held cellphone bans, which have been proven to discourage hand-held cellphone conversations while driving.”
The study was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
According to the National Safety Council, 1 out of 4 car accidents is caused by cellphone use. It’s estimated that talking on cellphones while driving caused 1.2 million wrecks in 2013. Nearly 342,000 additional wrecks were caused by texting while driving.
The NSC says that 9 percent of drivers at anytime during the day were talking on cellphones, and they were four times more likely to wreck as those who weren’t using phones.
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