States that ban motorists from texting while driving have seen a reduction in emergency room visits for car crashes, a new study says.
According to the study published in the American Journal of Public Health this week, researchers examined data collected from emergency departments in 16 states between 2007 and 2014. They found that states that implemented laws about texting while driving saw an average 4% reduction in emergency room visits. That's the equivalent of 1,632 traffic-related emergency room visits every year, the analysis says.
The severity of the texting-ban laws in the states varied. Some states had primary laws, meaning drivers could be pulled over for texting regardless of whether they had another traffic violation like running a stop sign or failing to yield, or secondary laws, meaning drivers would be cited only after another violation was witnessed by officers. States that implemented primary texting bans saw an even greater reduction in emergency room visits - up to an 8 percent decrease in crash-related injuries.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says distracted driving claimed 3,450 lives in 2016 and another 391,000 people were injured in 2015. The agency estimates that during daylight hours, 481,000 drivers are using their cell phones while driving. Teenagers are said to be the most likely group to be distracted during fatal crashes.