We’ve all seen the PSAs and heard repeatedly how we should not be using our phones while we drive. This is because using our phones distracts us from the road, which in turn could lead to accidents because we would be unable to brake in time or see a car or pedestrian in front of us. Makes sense, right?
However according to a recent study in the journal Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, it seems that its researchers, Nicholas E. Burger, Daniel T. Kaffine, and Bob Yu found no evidence that banning cellphone use while driving resulted in less traffic accidents. It sounds almost controversial but apparently that’s what they found during the course of their research.
According to Kaffine (via The Register), “If it’s really that dangerous, and if even just a fraction of people stop using their phones, we would expect to find some decrease in accidents. But we didn’t find any statistical evidence of a reduction.” He later adds, “Our results suggest that simply banning hand-held cellphone use may not produce the desired increase in traffic safety.”
Now there are many reasons as to why banning cellphone use while driving might not have resulted in fewer traffic accidents. It is possible that despite the rather graphic warnings we’ve seen, the ban was ultimately ignored and drivers still snuck attempts to use their phone despite it being considered illegal.
It is also possible that drivers switched to handsfree kits thinking it might be safer, although there are some who argue that handsfree kits are just as dangerous. In any case if you’d like to learn more you can check out the research paper (you will have to pay to access it), but what do you guys think?