Laws Against Distracted Driving (No-Texting): Making for Unsafe Roads?

Laws Against Distracted Driving (No-Texting): Making for Unsafe Roads?

In a conversation over on my cousin’s Facebook wall, I was pointing out that the rate of accidents (And fatalities) per million miles traveled has been steadily declining over the past 20 years or so. With a noteable exception: In 2011 the decline slowed significantly and in 2012 the number went up. (It went back down again in 2013). (ref:, and

Note:  The decline occurred concurrent with the increase in texting overall, and almost certainly an increase in texting while driving as well.  More texting. Fewer accidents. (And no, I am not suggesting causality here… necessarily.  Anyone care to speculate on how causality might be at play here?)

I found a very interesting correlation here. The flattening of the decline corresponds with the *increasing criminalization of texting.* Correlation for sure, but I posit that there may actually be causation: People still text, but “hide” it from the cops, which means putting the phones lower in their laps–forcing their eyes off the road for a longer time. The Law of Unintended Consequences. By the way, one response was that we have declining fatalities due to increased safety hardware such as air bags and seatbelts (and I will add anti-lock brakes.)   I would accept that, except we also see a decline in the number of accidents, and reported in the second link above.


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