(FORBES.com) — Laws that prohibit teenage drivers from texting while operating motor vehicles save lives. Forbes.com reported that a recent study proves that these laws work. A study published in the Journal of Pediatrics declared that jurisdictions with primary texting bans show significantly fewer fatal crashes among teenage drivers. Car crashes are still the greatest risk to the health and safety of teenagers and remain the number one mechanism of death for people in that age range. 47 out of the 50 United States have distracted driving laws. Not all states have primary laws. notwithstanding, the simple existence of a law prohibiting texting and driving helps save teenagers’ lives.
The physicians who led the study indicate that it is the first of his kind to look at people age 16 to 19 and how texting affects safe driving. The physicians, most of whom practice pediatric medicine, saw how devastating car accidents are to teenagers and their families. These observations inspired them to study the causation between anti-texting laws and fatal motor vehicle crashes.
The researchers looked at nearly 40,000 fatal car crashes in the United States involving teenagers from 2007 to 2017. They found that deaths involving teenage drivers increase each year the driver is on the road. The researchers determined that the highest percentage of fatalities was among the nineteen-year-old teens.
In 2007, only 15 states had enacted some sort of prohibition against texting while driving. That number expanded to 47 states a decade later. Researchers found that the rate of fatal crash among sixteen to nineteen-year-old motorists dropped by 33% during that time. The researchers believe that primary laws are the most successful keep reducing teenage vehicular deaths. However, they also found that secondary laws help as well. A police officer can stop a motorist for committing a primary offense.
Conversely, a law enforcement officer, cannot stop a person who is solely committing a secondary offense. The officer must stop the individual for another reason to issue a citation for a secondary offense. Therefore, the threat of being pulled over by a police officer who observes a teen texting and driving is significant enough to prevent teens from using their phones while driving.
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