New study shows effectiveness of texting ban on teen drivers

by | Mar 10, 2014

According to, texting while driving among teenagers has reached epidemic levels. The site reports that 25 percent of teens admit that they respond to a text message at least once every time they get behind the wheel. One fifth of all teens also admit that they engage in extended, multi-message text conversations when they drive, a statistic that would not surprise a Nashville collision attorney. A new study indicates part of the solution to this growing problem may be the proper implementation of texting bans on teenaged drivers.

The study’s findings

The Washington Post reports that researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Heath recently published a study in the American Journal of Public Health outlining their findings on the impact of texting laws on car accident fatalities. The researchers utilized 11 years of data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System. The data covered the years 2000 to 2010 and included information from 48 states.

Controlling for factors that might affect crash risk, researchers found that having a texting law in place was linked to a 2.3 percent drop in overall car accident fatalities for drivers of all ages. The bans were found to be most effective when officers were allowed to stop vehicles based solely on primary enforcement of the texting law. Less effects were seen when officers were only allowed to use the texting ban as secondary enforcement, or for stops that were initiated due to another broken law.

Researchers report further that when primary texting bans were in place, they were associated with a three percent reduction in traffic fatalities. Additionally, bans aimed at specific subpopulations were also shown to be more effective for reducing fatalities for that subpopulation.  Researchers report that when the primary bans were aimed at teenagers, there was a reduced rate of traffic-related death of 11 percent among teens.

The problem remains

Even though these bans are showing that progress is possible, a Nashville collision attorney understands that no amount of distracted driving is acceptable. Until texting while driving is completely eradicated, accidents such as recently seen in McMinn County, Tennessee will continue to occur. NBC affiliate WRCBtv Chattanooga reports that 17-year-old boy was allegedly texting as he drove on State Route 39. He drifted into the oncoming lane, which was occupied by a McMinn County deputy, and failed to notice because he was engrossed with his phone. The two vehicles crashed head-on with enough force to push the deputy’s vehicle back nearly 10 feet. The deputy suffered broken ribs and damage to one of his ankles. Law enforcement stated that the boy is facing charges of texting and driving and due care.

Until drivers learn to focus on driving, dangerous accidents are likely to keep occurring. Those who have been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver should contact a Nashville collision attorney for assistance with seeking compensation for their injuries.