Laws banning texting while driving may actually increase the risk of road crashes, according to U.S. research published Tuesday.
The findings from the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) showed crash rates rose in three out of four states after texting bans were put in place.
“Texting bans haven’t reduced crashes at all. In a perverse twist, crashes increased in three of the four states we studied after bans were enacted,” said Adrian Lund, president of HLDI and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
“It’s an indication that texting bans might even increase the risk of texting for drivers who continue to do so despite the laws,” he said. The findings “call into question the way policymakers are trying to address the problem of distracted driving crashes,” he added.
Lund said that the increased crash rates were due to drivers responding to the ban by moving their phones lower down and out of sight when they sent a text – increasing the risk of a crash because their eyes are diverted further from the road and for a longer time.