Posted Jul 28th 2014 5:59PM
Common sense says that talking on a cellphone while driving is not a particularly safe thing to do. But recent studies have found banning cellphone use while behind the wheel is not leading to a decrease in accidents.
"It was pretty clear to us that there was no compelling evidence of a decrease in accidents" – Daniel Kaffine
The results are somewhat surprising and have left researchers and regulators scratching their heads, as every province in Canada has a distracted driving (which includes using hand-held communication devices while driving) laws in place.
The most recent study, published this summer in the journal Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, analyzed California's cellphone ban for drivers in 2008. Researchers found the number of accidents only dropped from 66.7 per day to 65.2 per day, a statistically minor decline. The results were mirrored in many other major cities, including San Francisco, though Los Angeles did experience a slight decrease in accidents. Researchers looked at the six-month periods before and after the ban went into place on July 1, 2008.
"We went in there expecting to see something," Daniel Kaffine, one of the study's authors, told Autoblog Canada. "[But] it was pretty clear to us that there was no compelling evidence of a decrease in accidents."
Though offsetting for safety advocates, Kaffine's research is in line with other findings. The Highway Loss Data Institute, the research arm of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, studied insurance claims rates in 2009 and 2010 studies, and found no link that bans helped decrease crashes... READ MORE