Can Handing Out 'Txting Kills' Thumb Bands Stop People From Texting While Driving?

from the beats-bad-laws dept

We've pointed out that some recent studies have suggested that laws that ban texting-while-driving may have actually made the roads more dangerous, because it hasn't stopped people from texting, but just caused them to further hide the activity by holding the phone down low -- forcing them to take their eyes off the road more. This isn't to say that we think texting while driving is a good idea -- it's not. But just because you pass a law trying to ban a really dumb idea, it doesn't mean it will have the desired effect, and the early evidence suggests that there are serious unintended consequences with these laws.

Instead of laws, I think that a combination of education and technology could be a lot more effective, and it appears that at least some law enforcement folks are trying to increase the educational aspect. Parker Mason points us to the news that police in Iowa have started issuing "Txting Kills" thumb bands (sort of like the Livestrong bracelets... but for your thumb) rather than tickets to those caught texting while driving (they're also just handing them out at schools). It's nice to see an educational component, rather than just strict punishment, but I'm not convinced that thumb bands alone will do the trick...

Filed Under: driving, education, iowa, texting

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  1. icon
    grumpy (profile), 2 Nov 2010 @ 5:23am

    Preaching to the choir?

    Thumb bands will be worn by those who care. The rest will ignore it and text on. Nothing new to see here, move on please.

    Over here in Rightpondia (at least in the local jurisdiction) the police do not check mobile phones after incidents and accidents - as a policy. Mustn't offend the chattering classes. IMO classifying any mobile phone usage as negligence would do a lot to end the problem - imagine if insurance companies could refuse to be involved if e.g. someone had texted and caused an accident. Even better, if in possession of a mobe at the time of impact the burden of proof would fall on the possessor and guilt would be presumed. *That* would bring home the message, hitting the general public in the one organ it cares about the most - the wallet. A few high-profile cases where ordinary people are fleeced for damages and people would catch on that mobe usage in a car is bad for your health. "Pour encourager les autres" is such an effective approach... :-)

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