Beebe and O'Neil

Study: Texting bans are effective for teenage drivers

It is a well-researched fact that texting behind the wheel is a high-risk behavior. By law, no Connecticut driver is permitted to text while driving. Further, drivers are not allowed to use handheld phones and novice drivers may not even use hands-free technology.

These laws intend to reduce the number of distracted driving accidents, injuries and fatalities that happen across the state. Unfortunately, as a report the Pediatric Academic Society points out, many teenagers still engage in the behavior despite knowing the risk involved. In fact, nearly one-third of teen drivers admit to texting while driving.

Even still, research has found that texting bans have been linked to positive results. A report from Consumer Affairs details a University of Alabama Birmingham study that evaluated the efficacy of texting bans. Researchers compared roadway deaths from 2000 to 2010 to look for changes following the enactment of distracted driving laws. While the laws did not significantly affect traffic fatalities for older drivers, it did have an impact on younger drivers.

The study determined that in states where there were texting laws that banned young drivers from engaging in the behavior, deaths among 15- to 21-year-olds were reduced by 11 percent. In states where texting bans were enforced on a secondary basis, there was no significant change.

The study’s author noted that states should consider making distracted driving bans primary, which would enable law enforcement to ticket a driver solely based on witnessing texting behind the wheel. Connecticut’s laws regarding the behavior are all primary. 

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