Study: Fewer Drivers Texting in States That Ban the Dangerous Behavior

Kansas prohibits drivers from texting while behind the wheel, and the state’s law may be saving lives, according to a recent study.

While no one can argue that texting while driving is safe, many people engage in this careless behavior on Kansas roads despite the law. They might hold one hand on the steering wheel and tap out a text message on their smart phone. Their gaze may be fixed on the screen instead of the road ahead.

Our Kansas car accident attorneys represent injured individuals who have been in serious crashes because of such risky behavior. That’s why we urge everyone to stay away from cell phones while driving and focus on safely operating the motor vehicle.

While not everyone supports the creation of laws regulating the use of cell phones, research finds that teens report less texting while driving in the years following statewide bans. According to a news report by Reuters, a senior investigator stated that texting rates have been dropping. While the number of drivers who text has been declining, the bad news is that nearly one-third of teenagers have reported text-messaging while driving within the previous 30 days. Clearly, more work needs to be done to stop people from using their cell phones while driving.

The study was based on a national survey of high school students, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2011 and 2013, according to Reuters.

Texting While Driving and Car Accident Fatalities

Kansas was one of 14 states that banned texting while driving between 2011 and 2013. According to the study, the number of texting drivers in those states dropped from an average of 43 percent to about 31 percent.

Researchers say other factors may play a role in the decline, including public awareness about the dangers of texting while driving. It’s also difficult to pinpoint how many lives are saved when fewer people are texting and driving.  One study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that states with primary enforcement of texting bans reported a 3 percent reduction in traffic fatalities across all age groups. Primary enforcement, which is the law in Kansas, means that a police officer who observes someone texting behind the wheel can stop the driver without having any other reason to pull him over.

At Bretz & Young, we know that innocent people are killed or seriously injured because drivers make the reckless choice to text behind the wheel. Over the years, we’ve represented the injured and families who lost loved ones.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that car accidents are the Number 1 killer of teenagers in the United States. This grim statistic is one of the many reasons why people should never text and drive.