Massachusetts’ text messaging ban went into effect last week. The goal of the ban is to reduce the number of auto accidents caused by distracted drivers.
However, according to research released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, texting bans don’t actually reduce the number of roadway accidents. In fact, in the four states studied by the HLDI, three out of four states experienced an increase in car accidents after enacting a text messaging ban. HLDI researchers hypothesize that this increase may be due to drivers who continue texting but keep their cell phones low and out of sight, taking their eyes even further from the road. Some also say that texting bans take the focus away from other important safety measures.
However, some safety officials say the ban can be effective when paired with strict enforcement. Here in Massachusetts, drivers caught texting while driving are subject to a $100 fine for the first offense and $250 (plus a 180-day suspension) for the second offense. While it’s too soon to tell if Massachusetts’ text messaging ban will prove effective, we’ll be interested in seeing how the issue unfolds.
Source: Text Messaging While Driving Laws: Do They Decrease Safety?, IEEEE Spectrum, September 30, 2010
The Massachusetts car crash attorneys at Altman & Altman can answer your legal questions if you have been injured in a bus, car, or truck accident.