Do cell phone bans in cars work? - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Do cell phone bans in cars work?

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Texting and talking on your cell phone…two things some states have ruled out while driving, hoping to keep drivers eyes and minds off cell phones, and on the road.

But do the bans work?

Researchers at The Highway Loss Data Institute looked at 4 states: California, Louisiana, Minnesota, and Washington.

They calculated the number of collision insurance claims before and after the states' texting and driving bans with into effect.

In 3 of the 4 states, the number of accident claims increased after the bans went into effect.

In all 4 states, crashes increased in drivers younger than 25.

The group did a similar study with bans on hand-held cell phones. The crash data stayed steady, but didn't drop.

Experts said there could be a couple of problems with the bans. A ban on cell phone use doesn't eliminate all the distractions while driving. They said not everyone obeys the ban, and still might text and drive. And even some thought drivers have responded to the bans by trying to hide their phone while typing and driving, taking their eyes off the road even more.

So what about in the Heartland? Most experts said the bans are too new, and the data not yet gathered to tell if they're working.

They also said it can be hard to classify and determine the role a cell phone had in a car wreck.

In Missouri, drivers under 21 years of age, are banned from texting. Missouri Highway Patrol Trooper Clark Parrott said it's too early to tell the ban's effect, but he said they support anything to make Missouri's roads safer. He said in order to get better data, now when officers file reports, they will specify the type of cell phone use that contributed to a wreck.

In Kentucky, all drivers are banned from texting. School bus drivers and drivers under 18 also cannot use their cell phone driving. Kentucky State Trooper Michael Webb said the ban on texting has helped in awareness to prevent distracted driving. He said they've had a decrease in the amount of distracted driving wrecks and fatalities, but don't know if it's a direct correlation of the texting ban. He said it hasn't really helped on the enforcement since it can be hard to determine when there are exceptions like using your GPS, or texting while the car is stopped. Since the ban started in January 2011 (it actually went into effect July 2010, but there was a grace period) they've given out 740 citations. Wednesday was also Kentucky's "Don't Text and Drive Day."

In Illinois, all drivers are banned from texting. Drivers under 19, or with a learner's permit also under 19-years-old, are banned from using their cell phone while driving, and drivers in a construction zone, school zone, or near an emergency scene, cannot use hand-held devices.

You can see the study on "Texting and Driving Bans aren't reducing crashes" here.

You can see another report on using hand-held devices while driving here.

You can get more information from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety here.

You can see cell phone use laws in your state here.

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