Louisiana first banned texting while driving in 2008 and has since taken additional steps to strengthen that ban. While this may seem a logical step in keeping our roads safer, New Orleans drivers should be aware that a study by the Highway Loss Data Institute calls into question the effectiveness of such bans.
The Highway Loss Data Institute is a non-profit organization that conducts scientific studies of insurance data. It compared insurance claims for vehicles damaged in crashes before and after a full texting ban was instituted in four different states, including Louisiana. Data was also collected from nearby states, where the texting law had not changed, for use as a comparison and to control for other factors.
The study found that – contrary to the expected result – crashes increased following the implementation of a texting ban for all drivers in three of the four states studied, including Louisiana. Crashes among drivers under 25 years old – the most likely group to text – increased in all four states.
While the reason for this increase is speculative, noncompliance with the law would seem to be a likely contributor. In a survey regarding texting while driving, 45 percent of 18-24 year-olds in states that ban all texting while driving reported violating the law and texting anyway. In states without bans, 48 percent of drivers in this age group reported texting while driving. Based on these results, anti-texting laws have only a marginal impact upon this age group.
While continued texting does not account for an increase in car crashes, there has been speculation that, because drivers know their actions are illegal, some of them are attempting to hold their phones hidden from view while texting. This has led to even further driver distraction and more motor vehicle accidents.
If you have suffered a personal injury caused by a texting driver, we would be glad to help you. Please feel free to call our office at 504-581-6411 or 855-GERTLER.