Nanny state fails again

Via daughter Kim:

Laws that forbid motorists from using hand-held phones or texting while driving don’t appear to result in a significant decrease in vehicle crashes, according to a new study by the Highway Loss Data Institute expected to be released Friday.

The study, expected to be released at a conference in Washington, D.C., Friday, comes amid stepped-up efforts by federal highway-safety regulators to ban texting while driving and curb other forms of driver distraction. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood earlier this week announced rules to forbid commercial truck and bus drivers from text messaging while driving. Mr. LaHood has said he would ban all texting while driving if he could.

The HLDI, a research organization sponsored by the insurance industry, studied data on monthly collision claims in four states that banned the use of hand-held phones by motorists before and after the bans went into effect. The HLDI also compared collision data from states that enacted bans on driving while texting or phoning to accident claims in states that didn’t enact such bans.

I find the¬†Department of Transportation response “interesting”:

The Transportation Department in a statement Friday criticized the HLDI findings, saying “it is irresponsible to suggest that laws banning cell phone use while driving have zero effect on the number of crashes on our nation’s roadways.”

Typical of the nanny state mentality — in their minds the use of actual facts and data is “irresponsible”.

7 thoughts on “Nanny state fails again

  1. I’ve never understood why anyone would think these laws are necessary? In every place they would pass a new law they already have reckless driving laws. Texting while driving is reckless. Use what you have on the books. There is no need to add another law to an already overly fluffed legal code just to appear to be “doing something.”

  2. Robert, you make an excellent point. They are doing with automobile laws what they have been doing for years with gun laws, making it more illegaler. If this doesn’t work, they’ll figure out a way to make it double secret tops illegal, or something.

  3. There’s no need to change criminal law…just alter the civil law regarding liability.

    If you’re in an accident, and you’re using a cell phone or texting for non-emergency purposes (as shown by the phone logs) you then carry 100% of the liability for any accident in which you’re involved. If both of you are on the phone, it’s still a level playing field. But if you’re the distracted bozo who drifts across lanes and side-swipes me because you were on the phone, then you cough up some dough.

    An unintended consequence of this would be the targeting of cell phone users by non-users…they’d be getting hammered from behind by anybody who wanted to make a buck by trashing their junker (of course, now worth more than $4,500 by dot-gov fiat) and ramming them while they were on the phone.

    Hmmm…still sounds like a good idea.

  4. Blackwing, that approach won’t work, because the guy ramming from behind is ALWAYS at fault. Nothing the guy in the front can do changes that, unless, of course, the law is re-written that use of cell phones TRUMPS the guy in the rear being at fault! That creates a whole different, and even screwier scenario world!!

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