Texting and Driving Not Much More Dangerous Than Other Bad Driving Behaviours

According to Insurance Institute for Highway Safety head Adrian Lund, texting and driving isn’t any more dangerous than other bad driving behaviours and that our attention to the issue may be a real distraction from the serious issues of highway safety. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, state bans on texting and driving did not lead to a reduction in automobile collisions and the Institute is making a controversial stance saying that people are merely substituting texting, talking, and driving for other distractions, such as shaving, applying makeup, or reading the newspaper while behind the wheel. Speaking to Web blog Jalopnik, Lind says, “If you get people to stop talking on their cellphones or texting, but not addressing any other kind of distractions, then they’re likely to go back on them.If that’s true, then a ban on cellphone use wouldn’t have that much effect, and that’s what we see.”

According to Lund, it is distracted driving that’s the culprit behind crashes, and not technology. With the influx of car infotainment systems, GPS, and hands-free devices, people seem to be managing technology and avoiding crashes. “We’ve also had GPS coming into cars and a lot of other technology, and we don’t see an increase in crashes,” Lund says, “We need to be a little humbled by this and reevaluate the way people are using this technology in cars.”

Lund says the law isn’t effective at addressing distractions, and that perhaps technology will be better adapt at helping drivers remain focused: “The DOT is absolutely right that distracted driving is an issue, and we need to address it. Our problem is when we look at laws, they don’t seem an effective strategy for addressing it. We are hopeful some crash avoidance technology will be more successful.”

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