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Cell Phone Restrictions Save Lives

Published on January 18, 2019 under Blog
Cell Phone Restrictions Save Lives

Cell Phone Restrictions Save Lives

The threat of distracted drivers has increased in recent years; so much so that nearly all states have passed various laws restricting handheld cell phone use and texting. Two Florida-based college professors, Gulcin Gumus and Michael T. French questioned if these laws made motorcyclists safer, and decided to look at government statistics from 2005 – 2015. Previous studies had not shown much of a link between overall traffic fatalities and laws restricting handheld cell phone use and texting, but the professors thought the story might be different for motorcyclists, who are more vulnerable to distracted driving.

 

The study combined the NHTSA’s traffic fatality statistics with data on state laws restricting the use of handheld cell phones and texting to see what links could be found, specifically with motorcyclist fatalities.

The study classified state laws from ‘none’ to ‘strong,’ and covers a time in which the issue first came into the spotlight. In 2005, 45 states had no restrictions and no states had a ‘strong’ law. By 2015, only two states had no restrictions and 14 states fell into the ‘strong’ category. The bottom line: ‘strong’ laws reduced motorcyclist fatalities by 8.8 percent and ‘moderate’ laws reduced motorcyclist fatalities by 5.5 percent. What that means in terms of lives, Gumus and French looked at the numbers of motorcyclist fatalities in 2015 in the 36 states that do not have ‘strong’ laws and applied those percentage reductions. If all 50 states had ‘strong’ laws, about 173 fewer riders would have died in 2015.

The study was published in November edition of The Journal Social Science & Medicine.

Ride Safe!

Chuck Watwood
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LawBike.com