A new study published by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital has discovered that universal handheld phone bans for all drivers could prove effective at reducing handheld phone use among young drivers.
In the study, published online and in the print issue of Annals of Epidemiology, researchers examined data for young drivers’ handheld cell phone use across the United States from 2008 through 2013 and compared it to state legislation regarding cell phone use while driving. Nationally, over the six-year period, young drivers in states with a universal handheld phone ban were 58 per cent less likely to have a phone conversation while driving as those in states without a ban. This impact increases the longer the law is in effect.
“We know that traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for young adults between 15 and 24 years of age, and distraction is a key factor in many of these crashes,” said Motao Zhu, MD, MS, PhD, the study’s lead author and principal investigator in the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “Our study shows that bans work. We encourage all states to implement universal bans on handheld phone use while driving to help keep everyone safer while they are on our roads.”
Dr. Zhu recommends a universal ban which would be easier to enforce than a ban based on age. Additionally, all road users would benefit from roadways with fewer distracted drivers.
Data for this study was obtained from the National Occupant Protection Use Survey which uses roadside-observed handheld phone conversation at stop signs or lights in cities across the United States. The study also looked at state legislation regarding cell phone use while driving.
The Center for Injury Research and Policy (CIRP) of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital works globally to reduce injury-related pediatric death and disabilities.