Study finds widening gap between distracted driving and legislation

Cell phone distractions account for more than 300,000 car crashes each year. As a result, most states have put laws in place to limit or prohibit the use of things like cell phones and PDAs while driving. But a new study led by Temple University finds a widening gap between the evidence on distracted driving and the laws being passed to address the problem.

The new study, published this month in the , is the first comprehensive collection and coding of attempting to address the posed by distracted driving.

Lead author Jennifer Ibrahim and her team analyzed distracted driving laws passed between January 1, 1992 and November 1, 2010, and found that laws varied from state to state based on type of device (cell phones, laptops, ), categories of drivers (by age or by driving permit type), and types or locations of MCD use.

Enforcement and penalties also varied from state to state; as of November 2010, 39 states plus Washington DC had one or more laws restricting use of MCDs while driving; 11 states had no laws; and no state outlawed the use of cell phones completely.

The researchers say that there is no systematic review currently in place to evaluate MCD laws or provide evidence on their effectiveness, but that from a research standpoint, the variation is helpful – they are able to compare legislation from state to state to identify for future research what provisions within a given law make it particularly effective.

"We know that distracted driving is dangerous, yet despite the diffusion of distracted driving laws, there is evidence that driver use of MCDs is increasing," said Ibrahim, an assistant professor of public health in the College of Health Professions and Social Work. "Our study is the first step toward understanding which laws really do reduce distracted driving, and thus can reduce related crashes and associated injuries and fatalities."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Administration takes aim at distracted driving

Sep 30, 2009

(AP) -- Driving while distracted is a growing peril in a nation reluctant to put down its cell phones and handheld devices even behind the wheel, the Obama administration declared on Wednesday. Officials said Congress and ...

LaHood calls summit on distracted driving

Aug 04, 2009

(AP) -- Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Tuesday he will convene a summit of experts to figure out what to do about driver cell phone use and texting, practices that studies - and a growing number of accidents - ...

LaHood criticizes driver distraction lobbying push

Jul 07, 2010

(AP) -- Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood criticized a fledgling lobbying campaign on Wednesday which he said would undermine his work to limit drivers' use of cell phones and other electronic devices while behind the ...

Recommended for you

Testosterone testing has increased in recent years

Nov 21, 2014

(HealthDay)—There has been a recent increase in the rate of testosterone testing, with more testing seen in men with comorbidities associated with hypogonadism, according to research published online Nov. ...

AMA: Hospital staff should consider impact of CMS rule

Nov 21, 2014

(HealthDay)—Hospital medical staff members need to consider the impact of a final rule issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that revised the conditions of participation for hospitals ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.