Distracted driving – especially electronic related – is a widely concerning public safety hazard. Despite stricter laws and publicity campaigns, we continue to see drivers around us using their phones while behind the wheel. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nine people are killed and thousands more injured each day across the country.
Anything can create a distraction while driving – other passengers, a pet, food – but the CDC finds that texting is by far the most dangerous. Texting combines three dangerous components while driving in that you take your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel and your attention away from the road. In the seconds it takes to send a text, you travel the length of a football field if you’re traveling at 55 MPH.
However, there might be one bright spot in the grim statistics surrounding distracted driving. Research out of Florida finds that in states where strict cell phone laws or bans are in place, motorcyclist deaths are down.
Cell phone laws and bans are effective
The research done by Florida Atlantic University and the University of Miami found that motorcycle deaths decreased by 11 percent in states with even moderate cell phone bans when compared to other states without strict cell phone laws or bans.
In the last decade, automobile safety has increased overall and brought a lower number of motor vehicle fatalities, but the number of motorcycle fatalities has not decreased. Motorcycle fatalities usually account for a greater proportion of motor vehicle crashes relative to the number of vehicles and historically, motorcyclists are at a greater risk to be a victim of distracted driving.
The study only found roadway changes to this one area, but it’s promising that cell phone laws are proving to be effective in reducing the number of crashes and in saving lives. They hope lawmakers and law enforcement officials consider strengthening laws across the country. The researchers feel strongly that more bans and tougher distracted driving laws are needed to save more lives on the roadways.