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Banning texting while driving decreases ER visits

Texting while driving is a serious issue in Colorado. Even with bans in place, many people may try to risk it by sneaking a quick peek at the phone and trying to type up a quick message on the highway. In 2014, Business Insider reported on a survey that found 98% of drivers with cellphones were aware that texting while driving was dangerous. Yet, three-quarters of them continued to engage in this behavior anyway.

Drivers gave the following reasons for continuing to use their smartphones despite the dangers of doing so while driving:

  •          Belief that their driving performance was not affected when they text and drive
  •          To stay connected with family and friends
  •          Fear of missing something important
  •          Self-reported texting addiction
  •          Development of a bad habit

Apparently, the fear of getting a ticket is much greater than causing a deadly accident. In 2019, CNN reported that in states that ban texting while driving, ER visits declined. More specifically, these states experienced a 4% decline in visits related to motor vehicle accidents. This translated to 1,632 fewer visits to the ER.

Note that there are two types of ban-on-texting laws. One allows police officers to pull the driver over for texting only when another traffic violation occurs. The other type of law is called primary bans, where a police officer can pull the driver over just for texting. In states with primary bans, ER visits related to crashes declined by 8%.

Over the years, Apple, Android and smaller phone companies have stepped up to the plate with Drive Mode features. These help to make phones less distracting while driving by blocking notifications. Still, at the end of the day, people must take responsibility for their actions and adjust negative behaviors accordingly.

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