While many states like Georgia have enacted laws targeting the prevention of car accidents caused by distracted driving, some states have found more success in the use of these laws than others. A new study finds that the secret to the success of these laws lies in their nature as well as the words used to define them.
Georgia’s laws that ban the use of cell phones while driving specifically prohibit a motorist from using his or her hand to hold a cell phone or other device while driving a vehicle. A new study conducted by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety finds that laws that are specifically worded to prevent motorists from using their hands to hold a cell phone or other device might be more successful in preventing these behaviors and reducing the risk of car accidents caused by distracted driving, compared to laws that do not have such specifically designed language. The most successful laws, the study finds, are those that limit the use of hands to hold a cell phone for just the barest minimum possible interaction.
Many states have found it challenging to draft laws to reduce distracted driving. Part of the challenge has been the fact that over the past decade, cell phones have gone from being devices that people used to call people and have phone conversations with them and to send text messages, to mini personal computers. Cell phones now act as cameras and GPS systems, and most Americans use them as payment portals. Most of us check emails on cell phones rather than on computers. In an environment like this, it becomes challenging to define the kind of activities that are prohibited while using a cell phone.