UAB Study Shows Anti-Texting Laws Save Lives

New research from the University of Alabama - Birmingham shows that primary texting bans are associated with lower traffic fatalities. The new findings from researchers at UAB's School of Public Health are published in the August issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

Of drivers in the United States aged 18-64, 31 per cent reported they had read or sent text or e-mail messages while driving at least once in the 30 days prior, according to 2011 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That same year, 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver, and an additional 387,000 people were injured

The purpose of the study was to examine whether laws banning texting while driving have actually improved roadway safety.  The study also considered what types of laws that states have passed and whom they ban from what so conclusions could be made about which types of laws are most beneficial in improving roadway safety.

The study's author says some states have banned all drivers from texting while driving, while others have banned only young drivers from this activity.  Also, some states' texting bans entail secondary enforcement, meaning an officer must have another reason to stop a vehicle, like speeding or running a red light, before citing a driver for texting while driving.  Other states' texting bans entail primary enforcement, meaning an officer does not have to have another reason for stopping a vehicle.

The study's author says that primary texting bans were significantly associated with a 3 per cent reduction in traffic fatalities among all age groups, which equates to an average of 19 deaths prevented per year in states with such bans.  The author says primarily enforced texting laws that banned only young drivers from texting were the most effective at reducing deaths among the 15-21 year old age group, with an associated 11 per cent reduction in traffic fatalities among this age group in states with such bans.

States with secondarily enforced restrictions did not see any significant reductions in traffic fatalities.

If you are someone you know has been injured or killed by a distracted driver, the attorneys at Marsh, Rickard & Bryan may be able to help.

Source:  Science Daily

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