Text Ban Fail

Safety reg produces more accidents


When safety-obsessed legislators ban texting from the driver's seat, the roads don't get any safer. Or at least they didn't in Michigan, where the rate of serious automobile accidents actually increased slightly after a ban on texting while driving went into effect in July 2010, according to a study in the May 2014 Journal of Adolescent Health.

Oddly, there was a decline in the rate of less serious accidents involving minor property damage and no injuries. This finding contradicted the researchers' hypothesis that the introduction of the texting restriction for all drivers would be followed by a reduction in crashes of all severities.

What's going on? Previous studies have found that drivers try to evade enforcement efforts by holding their phones below the line of sight of other drivers. If Michigan drivers are doing this, the researchers suggest, "This may have resulted in a shift in the severity of texting-related crashes, where previously minor crashes became more severe, due to longer durations of eye glance behavior away from the forward roadway."