I was recently asked about the effectiveness of texting and driving laws in the United States. If you spend any time on the road, you’ll see someone texting while they’re behind the wheel. And many laws are currently on the books to keep people from doing just that. So what’s happening? Here’s my take:
Can texting and driving laws be enforced?
To begin, not every state even has these kinds of laws to enforce, like Montana and Arizona, which do not have any sort of ban on texting and driving. However, it’s clear that most of the country has seen the devastation texting and driving can have.
As a result, 46 states do have some sort of regulation in place to keep people from distracted driving. When it comes to actually enforcing these bans, law enforcement is doing everything in their power to detect and stop distracted driving. Certain devices are even in the works to help police better detect texting and driving, but for now, spreading awareness about the dangers and legal repercussions of distracted driving is doing a lot to help enforce these laws.
Have texting and driving laws had any effect on the rate of distracted driving accidents/fatalities?
Yes. States that have implemented texting bans have seen a decrease in distracted (texting and driving) accidents. According to a recent study, texting bans had the most powerful impact on younger drivers. They found that there was less deaths among the 15-21 age range, and overall, a decrease of fatalities concerning all age groups.
It’s true that these laws can be difficult to implement, but when people recognize that law enforcement is looking for a certain type of behavior, they’re more aware of how they’re driving.
When people know the legal consequences of texting and driving, that’s when you begin to see the positive outcomes of these laws. It seems that people are beginning to realize that a text message isn’t worth the potential harm or heavy fines and tickets that come with it.
Are texting and driving laws pointless?
I don’t think so. Now that many states have banned texting and driving, there’s been a decrease in traffic deaths and accidents around the country. Law enforcement is on the lookout for this type of behavior, and drivers are taking notice.
About the Author
Attorney Christopher Corso is the founding attorney of Corso Law Group. A native of Rhode Island, Corso previously worked as a prosecutor for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office serving as a mentor to newer prosecutors and specializing in DUI related offenses. Prior to that, he worked as a prosecutor for the Mesa City Prosecutors Office where he specialized in domestic violence offenses. While employed in Mesa, he assisted in preparing the court’s Domestic Violence Manual. Corso graduated from Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island, where he received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Paralegal Studies in 1997. He received his Juris Doctorate degree from Suffolk University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts.
In 2003, Corso became licensed to practice law throughout the state of Arizona. He is admitted to practice law in the Arizona Supreme Court as well as in the United States Federal District Court. Corso is currently a member of numerous professional legal organizations, including the American Bar Association, the Arizona Bar Association, the Maricopa County Bar Association and the Association of Trial Lawyers of America.