State Texting-While-Driving Bans Cut Crash-Related ED Visits

Findings show laws curbing distracted driving are effective

THURSDAY, April 4, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- States that have implemented a texting ban see significantly fewer motor vehicle crash (MVC)-related emergency department visits, according to a study published online March 21 in the American Journal of Public Health.

Alva O. Ferdinand, Dr.P.H., J.D., from Texas A&M University in College Station, and colleagues used emergency department data from 16 U.S. states (2007 to 2014) to assess the impact of state texting bans on MVC-related emergency department visits.

The researchers found that states with a texting ban saw a 4 percent reduction in MVC-related emergency department visits (incidence rate ratio, 0.96). This reduction equates to an approximate average of 1,632 traffic-related emergency department visits averted per year in states with a ban. Significant reductions in MVC-related visits to the emergency department were seen for both primary and secondary bans regardless of whether they applied to all drivers or young drivers only.

"Our findings suggest that states' efforts to curb distracted driving through texting bans and decrease its negative consequences are associated with significant decreases in the incidence of emergency department visits that follow an MVC," the authors write.

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