You would think that the California cell phone ban would reduce the number of car accidents throughout the state, but based on recent findings, it surprisingly is not.  A study by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) found that crashes are not declining since several states have banned hand-held phones.  The article, “Phone Use Bans Aren’t Producing Expected Benefit,” which appeared in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Status Report Vol. 45, No. 2, Feb. 27, 2010, California is among the states that didn’t show a reduction in crashes following the ban.

Researchers reviewed claim rates before and after the bans in 4 jurisdictions and concluded that they were steady.  Specifically, they discovered that month-to-month fluctuations in rates of collision claims in jurisdictions with bans were not affected one way or another.

Hand-held cell phone bans have been effective in reducing the number of drivers using such devices, but many safety advocates are surprised that the amount of crashes aren’t also going down.

“So the new findings don’t match what we already know about the risk of phoning and texting while driving.  If crash risk increases with phone use and fewer drivers use hand-held phones where it’s illegal to do so, we would expect to see a decrease in crashes.  But we aren’t seeing it.  Nor do we see collision claim increases before the phone bans took effect,” said Adrian Lund, president of both the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and HLDI.

There are possible explanations as to why hand-held cell phone bans aren’t having the desired effect.  One such reason could be that the risk is nearly the same whether a driver uses a cell phone that is hand-held or hands-free.  A previous study found that brain activity is actually reduced by 37 percent when a driver uses a cell phone while behind the wheel.  In California, hands-free cell phones are permitted, meaning people are still talking on the phone while driving.

If you or someone you love has been injured in car accident in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego or other area in California, you should contact a Southern California car accident attorney at Steinberg Injury Lawyers at (800) 989-6385.
Peter Steinberg
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Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Since 1982