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Do Texting-While-Driving Bans Actually Increase Crashes?

Texting while driving, Driving, Text Messaging, Mobile Phone, Telephone, Distracted, Hands-free Device, Text Message, Person texting on cell phone while driving CBS

Thirty states and the District of Columbia have banned texting while driving - a practice that takes the driver's attention and hands away from operating the vehicle and has been blamed in thousands of crashes.

But the bans haven't been effective. In fact, they may be responsible for a slight increase in distracted driving crashes, according to new research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

According to USA Today, "Researchers at the Highway Loss Data Institute compared rates of collision insurance claims in four states -- California, Louisiana, Minnesota and Washington -- before and after they enacted texting bans. Crash rates rose in three of the states after bans were enacted."

It's not totally clear why the bans aren't having the intended effect, but researchers believe it may be because drivers - opting to text in spite of the bans - are holding their phones below the dashboard so police can't see them, taking their eyes and attention even further from the road.

Experts also say that while texting is dangerous, distracted driving includes many other activities such as talking on the phone, reading, eating, and putting on makeup.

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