Some states have banned all drivers from texting while driving, while other states have only banned young drivers from texting while driving. These bans vary from state to state and fall under two categories: primary and secondary enforcement. Primary enforcement means an officer may pull an individual over if they see them texting while driving. Secondary enforcement means an officer must have an additional reason for pulling over the vehicle; for example speeding or running a stop sign.
Research from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health indicates that primary enforcement showed a 3% reduction in distracted driving vehicle fatalities among all age groups. This equals about 19 deaths per year in these states. Primary enforced states that only banned texting while driving for young drivers, resulted in an 11% reduction in fatalities for the age group of 15 to 21-year-olds. Although the research shows young drivers slowly decreasing texting behind the wheel, more young drivers are now traveling without their seatbelts. In a previous blog post, we spoke about how young drivers are increasingly not wearing seatbelts in vehicles.
States that have secondary driving enforced bans on texting while driving did not show any significant decrease in vehicle fatalities.
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Distracted driving includes more than just texting. It includes talking on your cell phone, listening to loud music or paying attention to a passenger instead of the road to name a few. Each day drivers are faced with many distractions; however, it is important to keep your focus on the road at all times. As laws become more strict and prevalent, it is hopeful that we will see a decrease in distracted driving crashes. If you or a loved one were injured in an accident due to someone’s distracted driving, contact a personal injury attorney.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Injury Prevention & Control: Motor Vehicle Safety”
The News Courier, “Researchers find link between texting laws, fewer deaths”