Long-Term Effects of Hand-Held Cellphone Laws on Driver Hand-Held Cellphone Use

As of September 2009, seven US states and the District of Columbia (DC) ban driving while talking on a hand-held cellphone. The current study examined the long-term effects of such bans on driver use of hand-held phones in DC, New York State, and Connecticut. The percentage of drivers talking on hand-held cellphones was measured over time based on daytime observation surveys in the three jurisdictions with bans and in comparison jurisdictions without bans. Trends in phone use rates over time were modeled using Poisson regression to estimate differences between actual rates and rates that would have been expected without a ban. The ban in DC immediately lowered the percentage of drivers talking on hand-held cellphones by 41%. Nearly 5 years after the ban, the phone use rate was 43% lower than would have been expected without the ban. Cellphone use in Connecticut declined an estimated 76% immediately after the ban; 3½ years later, phone use was 65% lower than would have been expected without a ban. In New York, cellphone use declined an estimated 47% immediately after the ban; when measured more than 7 years later, phone use was 24% lower than would have been expected without the ban. Fifteen months after the laws took effect, compliance in New York was lower than in DC, and the difference appeared due to more intensive enforcement in DC. However, this linkage is no longer clear because enforcement in New York has picked up such that levels of enforcement in 2008 appeared comparable in DC and New York, whereas enforcement in Connecticut lagged behind. In all of the jurisdictions, the likelihood was low that a driver violating the ban would receive a citation, and there were no publicized targeted enforcement campaigns in any of the three jurisdictions. In conclusion, jurisdictional bans on driver use of hand-held cellphones have reduced hand-held phone use and appear capable of maintaining reductions for the long term. However, it is unknown whether overall driver phone use has been reduced because many drivers may have switched to hands-free devices. Further research is needed to determine whether the reductions in hand-held cellphone use have reduced driver crash risk.

Language

  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 20p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01144474
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, ATRI
  • Created Date: Nov 5 2009 4:38PM