Texting bans related to lower traffic fatalities - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Texting bans related to lower traffic fatalities

A recent study showed texting while driving bans to be related to a decrease in traffic deaths. (Source: MGNOnline) A recent study showed texting while driving bans to be related to a decrease in traffic deaths. (Source: MGNOnline)
ALABAMA (WAFF) - A recent study showed reduction in traffic fatalities to be significantly associated with texting bans. 

Researchers at the University of Alabama Birmingham School of Public Health studied the impact texting-while-driving laws have had on roadway crash-related fatalities, and the findings are published in the August issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

Of drivers in the United States ages 18-64 years old, 31 percent reported they read or sent a text or email while driving at least once in the 30 days prior, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some states have banned all drivers from texting while driving and others have only banned young drivers, according to Dr. Alva O. Ferdinand. 

Also, some states require another reason for the officer to stop a vehicle, such as speeding, before the officer can cite a driver for texting and driving.

However, other states' texting bans allow primary enforcement, so an officer does not need another reason to stop a vehicle.

“Our results indicated that primary texting bans were significantly associated with a 3 percent reduction in traffic fatalities among all age groups, which equates to an average of 19 deaths prevented per year in states with such bans,” Ferdinand said. “Primarily enforced texting laws that banned only young drivers from texting were the most effective at reducing deaths among the 15- to 21-year-old cohort, with an associated 11 percent reduction in traffic fatalities among this age group in states with such bans.”

States with secondarily enforced restrictions did not see any significant reductions in traffic fatalities.

Ferdinand said the results found could help policymakers improve roadway safety because they could indicate the types of law that are most effective in reducing deaths among various age groups as well as those in states with secondarily enforced texting bans advocating for primarily enforced bans.

For more information, click here to visit the UAB News site. http://www.uab.edu/news/updates/item/5007-primary-texting-bans-associated-with-lower-traffic-fatalities-study-finds.

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