Distracted driving laws reduce hospital visits: study

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of fatal car accidents in North America, and texting while driving is perhaps the most common cause of distraction. A recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health has bolstered calls from Ontario car accident lawyers, safety advocates, and law enforcement officials to sustain pressure on the province’s distracted drivers.

The study, published this year, shows that American states that have implemented bans on texting while driving reported an average four per cent decrease in car accidents resulting in emergency room visits. In states where texting while driving is a primary offence, meaning suspected perpetrators can be pulled over by police, the average decrease was eight per cent.

The study considered data collected between 2007 and 2014 in 16 states. Of the states included in the study, all but one – Arizona – considered texting while driving a primary or secondary offence.

“The law can be a very useful public health intervention,” lead study author Alva Ferdinand, an assistant professor at Texas A&M University, told The Drive. “There are lives that can be saved and injuries prevented as a result of these laws.”

Arizona joins Missouri and Montana as the only three states without full texting while driving bans. Both Arizona and Missouri have partial bans; texting while driving is legal in Montana.

Distracted driving laws in Ontario and elsewhere in Canada

Tough new distracted driving laws came into effect in Ontario in January 2019, to the approval of most car accident lawyers. Today, drivers who are caught ‘talking on their phones, texting, dialing or emailing using a hand-held device, such as a cell phone and other entertainments devices will be fined up to $1,000 with a three-day licence suspension and three demerit points,’ the CBC reports. The rules are part of Bill 174, the Cannabis, Smoke-Free Ontario and Road Safety Statute Law Amendment Act.

“Safety is our top priority,” provincial minister of transportation Jeff Yurek told the CBC in an email. “Ontario’s roads are among the safest in North America, but we also know distracted driving continues to be a serious problem.”

Ontario’s distracted driving laws are among the toughest in Canada. Across the country, distracted drivers face fines between $172.50 (New Brunswick) and $3,000 (Ontario, for a third conviction), and various demerits and licence bans. Only Nunavut’s laws do not directly penalize distracted driving.

Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer

If you or a member of your family has been injured in an accident involving distracted driving, contact Will Davidson LLP today to learn how our experienced team of car accident lawyers can help.

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