Texting ban could increase number of Massachusetts car accidents caused by distracted driving

Motorists are likely to respond to the state’s new ban on text messaging in one of two ways: By either complying with the law aimed at reducing the number of serious and fatal Massachusetts car accidents caused by distracted driving, or by lowering their phones and hiding their activities in their laps.

It is that scenario of hiding your phone in your lap that has the Highway Loss Data Institute warning that text messaging bans could actually be increasing the risk of distracted driving accidents. The Governor’s Highway Safety Association reports that 30 states have banned text messaging by drivers. Eleven of those states have passed laws this year — Massachusetts’ law went into effect at the first of the month.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has led the charge against text messaging, blaming distracted driving car accidents for about 5,000 deaths and more than 500,000 injuries each year. Only speeding and drunk driving are blamed for more traffic deaths each year.

However the study published by the Highway Loss Data Institute, a division of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, looked at four states with a ban on text messaging and compared them to four states where no such ban is in effect. The conclusion was startling: Not only had the ban not led to a reduction in accidents, three of four states with a ban had actually seen an increase.

“It’s an indication that texting bans might even increase the risk of texting for drivers who continue to do so despite the laws,” says Adrian Lund, president of both HLDI and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

He cautioned that the study’s conclusion has no bearing on whether texting and driving is dangerous — it is. But the study’s conclusion does suggest that texting bans are not having the desired effect.

“If drivers were disregarding the bans, then the crash patterns should have remained steady. So clearly drivers did respond to the bans somehow, and what they might have been doing was moving their phones down and out of sight when they texted, in recognition that what they were doing was illegal. This could exacerbate the risk of texting by taking drivers’ eyes further from the road and for a longer time.”

An experienced Boston car accident lawyer will carefully review your case and could be able to determine whether distracted driving or a violation of the texting ban played a roll in your accident. A careful review of the causes of your accident is just one aspect of building a personal injury or wrongful death case capable of winning the compensation you deserve.

If you have been injured in a Boston car accident, contact Massachusetts Injury Lawyer Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 877-617-5333.

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