New research finds collisions are not declining in jurisdictions where bans are in effect. "The laws aren't reducing crashes, even though we know that such laws have reduced hand-held phone use, and several studies have established that phoning while driving increases crash risk," the president of both the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute were quoted recently in the media. The Highway Loss Data Institute study compared insurance claims before and after bans went into effect in four jurisdictions — D.C., New York, Connecticut and California. The study finds claim rates steady with neighboring jurisdictions. "The new findings don't match what we already know about the risk of phoning and texting while driving," the president says. "If crash risk increases with phone use and fewer drivers use phones where it's illegal to do so, we would expect to see a decrease in crashes. But we aren't seeing it, nor do we see collision claim increases before the phone bans took effect. This is surprising, too, given what we know about the growing use of cell phones and the risk of phoning while driving. We're currently gathering data to figure out this mismatch." The research does have some limitations. It looks at all collision claims and does not identify whether drivers were using cell phones when their crashes occurred.
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