How do you cut down on traffic deaths? Give tickets to young drivers who are texting while driving, according to a peer-reviewed study published in the American Journal of Public Health.
Researchers examined traffic fatalities for states with and without laws banning texting-while-driving over 2000-2010, and found that texting bans were associated with a three percent drop in traffic fatalities overall. In particular, states that only banned young drivers – that is to say, those aged 15-21 – saw an 11 percent decrease in deaths among those young drivers. Young people are more likely to text, and are less experienced drivers, creating a dangerous combination. Issuing fines for texting drivers, and the threat that comes with a fine, saved lives, researchers found.
That may seem ho-hum, but it’s an important step in answering the vexing question of how to cut down on texting while driving, proven time and time again to be dangerous. A majority of states, including all of New England, bans texting for drivers of all ages. Massachusetts, too, bans all phone usage for under-18 drivers. Cracking down on the inexperienced, text-favoring drivers seems to have a life-saving effect.