A new study has found that hands-free cell phone laws have been linked with reducing driver deaths.
According to a report on Forbes.com, bans on hand-held cell phones while driving prevent nearly 14,000 serious injuries and 140 driver deaths each year in the United States, lowering the overall fatality rate by 7%.
Distracted driving is one of the top causes of serious car accidents and injuries, so the new findings show how important those cell phone laws are.
The study published in the journal Epidemiology titled “Bans on Cellphone Use While Driving and Traffic Fatalities in the United States,” showed that hands-free cell phone laws were linked to fewer driver deaths, but calling-only, texting-only, texting plus phone-manipulating, and calling and texting bans were not.
Currently, fewer than half of the states have enacted a comprehensive hands-free ban. This new study was conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
What the Study Shows
Researchers examined cellphone use laws nationwide and looked at drivers, passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists and total deaths involved in passenger vehicle crashes from 1999 through 2016 in all 50 states. They obtained data from several sources, including the federal Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Researchers say this study makes the case for hands-free driving, which they say, saves lives and reduces the societal costs associated with distracted driving. Distracted driving-related crashes are indeed a major burden on the emergency medical and trauma systems. They result in significant expenses for treatment and rehabilitation, the study noted.
In Ohio alone, according to researchers, the associated societal costs for such crashes are about $1.2 billion each year or about $2,300 every minute. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has recommended that all cell phone use including hands-free use, be prohibited while driving. Several recent studies have found that even hands-free use of cell phones while driving can prove distracting.
Preventing Distracted Driving Crashes
The best way to prevent driving while distracted is to eliminate all types of distractions when you are on the road. First, turn off your phone or put it out of reach so you are not tempted to look when you’re driving.
Try to be more organized so you’re not multitasking when you are driving. For example, it would be a good idea to set the temperature in your vehicle before you begin driving so you’re not fiddling with the controls when you’re driving. Use your Smartphone apps that will disable texting or send out an automated response to callers when you’re driving.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver, contact an experienced California car accident lawyer who will provide you with more information about pursuing your legal rights.