Like the rest of the country, distracted driving is an issue in Florida, but some groups have argued against the passage of handheld phone and texting while driving bans. Those groups have said that distracted driving laws do not reduce car accidents caused by distraction, but instead increase the risk of such accidents. The results of two distracted driving pilot programs may help change those assertions.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration two distracted driving programs entitled “Phone in One Hand, Ticket in the Other” have greatly reduced texting and cellphone use while driving in Hartford, Connecticut and Syracuse, New York; the two locations where the pilot programs were initially tested. The pilot programs were conducted during four, one month time periods over the last two years.
After the completion of the program, handheld phone use dropped nearly 60 percent and texting while driving declined by 72 percent in Hartford. In Syracuse, handheld phone use and texting while driving declined by over one-third. The declines were measured by the observations of researchers and by surveys completed by the public.
The programs borrowed successful techniques used in national campaigns to raise awareness about seat belts and about the dangers of drunken driving. The programs employed a public education campaign and a highly-visible enforcement campaign to reduce distracted driving levels.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety previously released a report that showed handheld phone and texting bans do not reduce car accidents and may increase crashes.
The success of the pilot programs suggests otherwise and has led to the development of a future statewide project in an as of yet undetermined state, according to grand rapids car accident lawyers.