The growing popularity of texting has led to an increase in personal injury accidents caused by texting drivers. In response to these accidents, Louisiana first banned texting while driving in 2008 and took steps to strengthen that ban earlier this year. While this may seem a logical step in keeping our roads safer, New Orleans drivers should be aware that a recent study calls into question the effectiveness of this ban.
This year, the Highway Loss Data Institute – a non-profit organization that conducts scientific studies of insurance data – compared insurance claims for vehicles damaged in crashes before and after a full texting ban was instituted in four 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.
Surprisingly, the study found that following the texting ban for all drivers, crashes increased 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, the impact of anti-texting laws on this age group appears to be marginal.
But why did accidents actually go up following texting bans? While this is not clear, it has been speculated that because drivers know their actions are illegal, they are attempting to hold their phones hidden from view while texting. This has led to even further driver distraction and more auto 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.