The ban on texting on cell phones whilst driving, which went into effect in New York four months ago in the November of last year, may actually be having the opposite of the intended effect. New statistics show that the rate of cell phone texting related accidents is actually on the rise since the ban was introduced. Why? Because drivers are not only continuing to use their cell phones to text while driving but they are now trying to ensure that no-one else on the road (such as police) can see them doing it – with the result that they are even more distracted than before and thus even more prone to having an accident.
The Highway Loss Data Institute confirms that the number of cell phone texting accidents appears to be on the rise since the ban. Pat’s Papers notes that drivers, “instead of waiting until they are off the road to compose a message” as those who made the bans presumably wished (and assumed) they would do, are instead just lowering “their phones to avoid police scrutiny”. Unfortunately, their eyes tend to follow suit.
While Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood insists the ban has been a success, the Institute’s Adrian Lund is far from convinced, saying that the findings “call into question the way policy makers are trying to address the problem of driver-distracted crashes”. Unfortunately, the Institute does not appear to have any ideas as to how else people can be forced to obey the rules.