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Anti-Texting Legislation Causes Kids Safety Stir

December 22, 2011 at 4:10 PM

texting while drivingHighlighting kids safety laws surrounding texting and driving:

When a state makes it illegal to text while driving, most of us breathe a sigh of relief that the roads are going to be that much safer from now on. But research actually suggests that this may be the opposite of reality, especially for teen drivers.

In a 2010 study by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI,) researchers studied auto insurance records for the months immediately before and after anti-texting legislation was passed in Minnesota, Washington, Louisiana, and California. They also used data from states with no existing texting legislation as a control measure.

The study found that there was no reduction in the amount of collision insurance claims filed after the passage of anti-texting legislation in a state; in fact, the frequency increased slightly by 7% to 9% in 3 of the 4 states. The largest increase was seen in drivers under 25 in California, young drivers were involved in 12% more crashes after texting bans were enacted.

Teen drivers are particularly likely to text behind the wheel (13% of drivers text while operating a car, while 43% of drivers under the age of 24 say they text and drive.) Teen drivers are also more likely to ignore statewide texting bans (the number of adults 25-29 who text and drive after it's made illegal in their states falls by 15%, while the number of teen drivers who text at the wheel after the passage of anti-texting legislation falls only 3%.

In a HLDI phone survey in North Carolina, only 22% of teenagers said they believe that texting and driving laws are enforced fairly often. 34% of teen drivers said they didn't even know about their state's texting laws.

-Article Contributed by Jenny Evans

Tim Woda

Written by Tim Woda

Tim Woda is an Internet safety expert, and a passionate advocate for empowering families and protecting children from today’s scariest digital dangers. Woda was on the founding team of buySAFE, an Internet trust and safety company, and he started working on child safety issues after his son was targeted by a child predator online. While his son was unharmed, the incident led Woda to kick-start You can follow Tim on Twitter or on his blog.

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