Texting ban report met with anger, skepticism

Are texting-while-driving bans working? In a controversial report released Sept. 28, the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), an affiliate of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, found that texting bans are not reducing crashes, MSNBC reports. The claims that anti-texting laws do not reduce crashes touched a nerve with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, who responded harshly to the report, calling it misleading and flawed. “Last Thursday, I blogged about misleading claims from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) disparaging the effectiveness of good laws and good enforcement in our campaign to end distracted driving,” LaHood wrote in his blog “The Fast Lane.” “Unfortunately, they’re at it again today with another misleading ‘study.’ There are numerous flaws with this ‘study,’ but the most obvious is that they have created a cause and effect that simply doesn’t exist.” The results of the HLDI study, released at the Governors Highway Safety Association Annual Meeting in Kansas City, found that as a result of texting bans, not only was there not a reduction in crashes, there was a slight increase in crash frequency, especially for young drivers, who are most likely to text and drive. Currently, 30 states and the District of Columbia have anti-texting laws. “You can’t say laws don’t work,” said David Strickland, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Administrator. “It’s too early to make an assessment.” He said strong enforcement and public awareness was needed, but these take time to take hold. When there are high visibility, education, and good laws, “it works,” he said, referring to the success of new Department of Transportation campaigns…

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