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Does Banning Cell Phone Use While Driving Really Decrease Accident Rates?

By Ross Jurewitz on August 4, 2014

Six years ago, the state of California banned the use of cellphones while driving (except for hands-free technology). Those under 18-years-old are banned from even using hands-free technology and everybody in the state is banned from texting while driving.

Ostensibly, the laws were enacted to reduce accidents caused by those using mobile devices while driving. But, has that proven to be the case?

According to a study recently published in the Journal of Transportation Research, the answer is: No.

The study looked at the accident rates in California six months prior to the cellphone ban and six months after.

“Our main result was that we found no evidence that the California cellphone ban decreased accidents,” one of the lead authors of the study said. “This is surprising because a lot of prior studies had shown that people who talk on cellphones, while driving, are just as impaired as people who are intoxicated.”

The study did not attempt to determine why the California law had not reduced traffic accidents, although some of the researchers posited that other forms of distraction while driving might be just as dangerous for motorists (i.e. eating or drinking in the car, using GPS devices, changing radio stations or talking with passengers while driving).

A 2012 study released by University of North Carolina’s Highway Safety Research Center suggested that distractions, such as those listed above, more prominently figured in traffic accidents than the use of mobile devices.

Of course, as anybody who actually drives in southern California can attest, many drivers simply ignore existing cellphone laws altogether.

Regardless of the reason, accidents caused by distracted drivers can result in serious injuries, death, and financial losses. The automobile accident attorneys at the Jurewitz Law Group in San Diego will aggressively protect your legal rights and will work tirelessly to see that you get fairly compensated for medical bills, hospitalization, loss of wages, and other damages caused by a distracted driver. If you believe you have a case, call us at (888) 233-5020 or contact us online to set up a free consultation today.

Ross Jurewitz

Ross Jurewitz is the founder and managing lawyer of the Jurewitz Law Group, a San Diego personal injury attorney law firm. These San Diego injury accident lawyers specialize in helping people seriously injured in a variety of accidents throughout San Diego County and California.

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