Evidence mixed on cell phone bans

    A possible ban on cell phone use while driving is one of the high-profile measures before the Pennsylvania General Assembly this year.

    A possible ban on cell phone use while driving is one of the high-profile measures before the Pennsylvania General Assembly this year.

    A research institute that examined the impact of cell phone bans in other states has concluded such laws have shown mixed results.

    The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has released several studies on cell phone bans in recent months.

    One report shows the laws successfully reduce the number of people who talk on hand-held phones while behind the wheel.

    But another study, which analyzed collision claims in cities and states that had recently enacted bans, led to a surprising conclusion, according to researcher Ann McCartt.

    “Our finding, which was somewhat unexpected,” says McCartt, “was that these bans seem not to be effecting crashes. So they affect hand-held phone use, but they do not affect crashes.”

    Crash rates before and after the cell phone bans went into effect were essentially the same.

    McCartt says the rates were also similar to neighboring states and cities that did not have a ban in place.

    The report focused on New York, Connecticut, California and Washington, DC.

    The Institute is a non-profit organization funded by insurance companies.

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