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Distraction drop: bans discourage teens from texting and driving

A few weeks ago, we wrote a post about the staggering distraction rate for teenage drivers in this country. Though distracted driving is a problem that affects more than just teens and younger drivers, it certainly is no surprise that younger, more naive people are prone to this kind of behavior.

If there is good news, it is that state bans for texting while driving appear to have a major effect on teenagers and their behavior behind the wheel. A study found that after a state passed a ban on texting while driving, teenagers were less likely to participate in the behavior. The study looked at self-reported numbers from 2011 to 2013, and in states that passed such a ban (14 states in total), the teen texting while driving rate took a significant hit after a ban was passed -- from 43 percent to 31 percent.

This seems like as good a time as any to remind people that in the state of Michigan, there is a texting while driving ban in effect. The ban applies to reading, typing or sending information while driving, and the fine is $100. Each subsequent offense is $200. There are exceptions to the rule when it comes to GPS use and emergencies.

But possibly of more importance is the fact that when a driver, any driver, uses his or her cellphone while driving and causes an accident, their distracted state of mind could be used against them in civil court. Victims of an accident could point to their cellphone use and argue that the driver was being negligent out on the road.

Source: Reuters, "Teen texting and driving dips with state laws," Kathryn Doyle, April 27, 2015

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