Based on the existing research, the report urges states to implement the following countermeasures:
• Continue to leverage effective, low-cost roadway countermeasures such as edgeline and centerline rumble strips, which alert motorists when they are drifting out of their driving lane.
• Record distracted driving in crash reports to the extent possible, to assist in evaluating distracted driving laws and programs.
• Monitor the impact of existing hand-held cell phone bans prior to enacting new laws. States that have not already passed handheld bans should wait until more definitive research and data are available on these laws’ effectiveness.
• Evaluate other distracted driving laws and programs. Evaluation will provide the information states need on which countermeasures are effective and which are not.
The report also lists countermeasures that states should consider, such as:
• Enact a texting ban for all drivers and a complete cell phone ban (both hands-free and hand-held) for novice drivers.
• Enforce all existing cell phone and texting laws.
• Implement distracted driving communication programs.
• Help employers develop and implement distracted driving policies and programs.
GHSA Executive Director Barbara Harsha stressed, “While distracted driving is an emotional issue that raises the ire of many on the road, states must take a research-based approach to addressing the problem. Until more research is conducted, states need to proceed thoughtfully, methodically and objectively.”
Harsha also noted that high visibility texting and hand-held cell phone enforcement demonstration projects in New York and Connecticut, funded by the states and the U.S. Department of Transportation and modeled after the Click It or Ticket seat belt program, are proving to be effective in helping to change motorist behavior.
“Our report includes the preliminary results of these cell phone crackdowns, which have prompted dramatic declines in hand-held cell phone use and texting behind the wheel. The final results are expected shortly and should be considered as states move forward with education and enforcement initiatives.”
Visit www.ghsa.org to view the full report.