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Study Says Distracted Driving Laws Ineffective

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Chicago DUI lawyers generally don't handle texting while driving cases, which typically are limited to citations, but studies show that the potentially distracting behavior can be just as dangerous as drinking and driving (Car and Driver).

Such studies, buoyed by the increasing frequency of accidents involving drivers who were distracted by their mobile device, have prompted lawmakers to take action. An Illinois law banning texting while driving took effect on Jan. 1, 2010.

But another study, the results of which were reported by The Associated Press, suggests that such laws do nothing to stop distracted-driver crashes.

A report of the study was released late last month by the Highway Loss Data Institute. It based its conclusions on insurance claims related to crashes before and after distracted driving laws were enacted in New York, California, Connecticut and Washington, D.C.

A full copy of the five-page report can be found here (PDF, Highway Loss Data Institute).

No change in patterns resulted from the enactment of such laws, as compared with neighboring states without similar bans, the article states. This "raises as many questions as it answers," said Jonathan Adkins, spokesman for the Governors Highway Safety Association, who was quoted in the article.

The association suggests that perhaps such bans on handheld devices has prompted more motorists to use hands-free devices instead, according to the article, which many studies indicate is just as dangerous (Times Online).   

In a blog post quoted by reporters, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood expressed concern that the Highway Loss Data Institute report may "cast doubt on the reality of this epidemic."

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