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Laws Banning Texting and Driving May Be Ineffective

Despite the ban on use of handheld cellphones and other portable electronic devices while driving in New York, these laws may not actually contribute to improved motorist safety. In fact, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has found that these laws have not made a difference.

In reality, bans on texting and driving may be causing more problems than they resolve. Because texting while driving is illegal, drivers often try to hide their phones in order to avoid detection – resulting in their eyes being away from the road for even longer periods of time.

New York’s “new” cellphone law took effect on July 12, 2011. The law allows police to stop a vehicle for the sole reason of texting while driving. In addition, getting caught texting can also give drivers two points against their licenses. This, however, has not stopped many people because the benefits of texting while driving seem to outweigh the risks of getting caught.

The IIHS found that among the states studied, more insurance claims were filed with automobile insurance companies in three of the four states who had instituted texting bans after the bans were implemented. Most drivers disregard the texting bans because they do not see texting and driving as any more dangerous than eating or changing radio stations. Among drivers ages 18 to 24, 45 percent are still texting even though their states have banned it.

While texting and driving can be very dangerous, the IIHS study shows that most people are not complying with laws banning texting and driving. The study also suggests that banning texting may even increase crashes because of the precautions drivers must take to not get caught.

While it is too early to tell if texting bans will remain in place, for now it is against the law and can result in still traffic-related penalties. If you have received a traffic ticket that you need to contest, please consider contacting a New York traffic ticket defense attorney who can assist you in protecting your legal rights.

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