by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jan 29th 2010 6:35pm
We've been suspicious of whether or not "driving while yakking" laws actually do any good. There are already laws against reckless driving, and picking out specific driving distractions doesn't seem likely to change things, since people just switch to other distractions. A study back in 2006 found that driving while yakking laws don't make the roads any safer, and a brand new study has apparently surprised researchers in showing no impact whatsoever on crash data even as studies show that fewer people are holding phones to their ears while driving (thanks Chirag). Now, there could be plenty of reasons for this -- such as that people are just switching to ear pieces which can be just as dangerous. Or it could be that common claims about driving while yakking leading to more accidents are wrong. Or it could be more complex, with other variables having an impact, but which is hidden in the data. Either way, it certainly seems worth investigating more seriously. If the goal is better road safety, then we should make sure that the laws actually lead to that result. If they don't, then it's important to understand why not.
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