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New Study Links Hands-Free Cell Phone Laws to Fewer Driver Deaths

Speeding and Distracted Driving Remain Problems While Fewer Drivers Are Impaired or Run Red Lights

A new study has found that hands-free cell phone laws have been linked with reducing driver deaths. According to a report on, 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 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.

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 the 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 saves lives and reduces the societal costs associated with distracted driving. Distracted driving-related crashes are a major burden on the emergency medical and trauma systems. They result in significant expenses for treatment and rehabilitation, the study noted.

According to researchers in Ohio, 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, be prohibited while driving. Several recent studies have found that even hands-free cell phone use while driving can be distracting.

Preventing Distracted Driving Crashes

The best way to prevent driving while distracted is to eliminate all types of distractions on the road. First, turn off your phone or put it out of reach so you are not tempted to look when driving.

Try to be more organized so you’re not multitasking while 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 to disable texting or send out an automated response to callers while driving.

If a distracted driver has injured you or a loved one, contact an experienced California car accident lawyer who will provide you with more information about pursuing your legal rights.


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