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Study: Cell-phone bans don’t reduce accidents


A new study suggests laws banning the use of handheld devices while driving have not reduced the rate of accidents in three states and the District of Columbia, CNN reports. In addition to the nation’s capital, the report by the Highway Loss Data Institute reviews insurance claims in New York, Connecticut, and California. It also compares the data to other areas that do not have cell-phone bans. “The laws aren’t reducing crashes, even though we know that such laws have reduced handheld phone use, and several studies have established that phoning while driving increases crash risk,” said Adrian Lund, president of the Highway Loss Data Institute. According to the study, the crash rates in the nation’s capital were the same as in Virginia and Maryland, which don’t have laws limiting the use of cell phones while driving. Increased rates of crashes when drivers use hand-held cell phones have been well documented, so it’s unclear why the four jurisdictions’ accident rates did not mirror the trend after their cell phone bans took effect.

Lund said the Highway Loss Data Institute is trying to determine why the ban does not have an impact on the rate of accidents. One of the options is that drivers in jurisdictions that ban cell phones while driving may be resorting to using hands-free devices, whose accident rates are the same as handheld devices, he said. The study comes as efforts to teach students about the dangers of cell-phone use while driving are increasing…

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