Texting while driving ban ineffective? Test your skills [Technology]

Print

In 2010, the state of Kentucky passed a new law, with hopes of keeping eyes on the road and away from the smart phone... but is it effective in reducing accidents? A recent study shows the opposite.

On July 15, 2010 Kentucky officially enacted a law that prevents those under the age of 18 of using any type of communication device such as a mobile device or pager, while the vehicle is in motion. If using it for GPS purposes, the vehicle must be stopped, prior to typing or utilizing the device to input directions.  For those over 18, law allows the use of global positioning devices and reading, selecting or entering a telephone number or name for the purpose of making a phone call. Texting is allowed only to report illegal activity or to request medical or emergency aid. Law enforcement officers will issue warnings until January 2011. After that, you will face fines of $25 for a first offense and $50 for each after that.

Though most hope that the new law will reduce the number of accidents in Kentucky, some studies show differently.  According to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety:

"Texting bans haven't reduced crashes at all. In a perverse twist, crashes increased in 3 of the 4 states we studied after bans were enacted. It's an indication that texting bans might even increase the risk of texting for drivers who continue to do so despite the laws," says Adrian Lund, president of both HLD (Highway Loss Data Institute and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in a press statement. 

The institute's spokesman, Russ Rader, says the increase might be the result of drivers trying to keep the phones out of view while texting.

Still think you're an A+ driver while texting?  Check out the New York Times game that measures how your reaction time is affected by external distractions. Regardless of your results, experts say, you should not attempt to text when driving.

Today's Tech Deal: Get an LG Bluetooth Headset for for $2.99 via code "MLCK211279092930NL1" and $10 mail-in rebate (just expect a couple weeks for shipping) - expires 9/30/10.

Photo: Flickr/poka0059