LaHood Slams IIHS Distracted Driving Report

On Wednesday, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) published a study about the laws against texting while driving and the effects, or at least the lack of, these laws have had since their implementation.

The IIHS claims that since the adoption of laws banning texting, the number of car crashes has not decreased but on the contrary, went up a percentage point or two. Although the Institute did not claim, as far as we can tell, that the laws and regulations themselves (in fact, they timidly blamed the drivers, who keep ignoring the bans), Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood slammed the report on his personal blog.

“Last Thursday, I blogged about misleading claims from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) disparaging the effectiveness of good laws and good enforcement in our campaign to end distracted driving,”
the Secretary begins.

“Unfortunately, they're at it again today with another misleading "study." The Highway Loss Data Institute, an affiliate of IIHS, is now saying that state anti-texting laws may actually "increase" the overall number of crashes statewide. There are numerous flaws with this "study," but the most obvious is that they have created a cause and effect that simply doesn't exist.”

The secretary points to the fact that cannot associate the ban and the number of crashes in the manner the IIHS has done.

“For example, we have a national law against drunk driving. People are also required to wear seat belts. But if the number of fatalities in a state goes up one year, would it now pass as "research" to say that seat belt and anti-drunk driving laws are to blame?“

The IIHS said earlier today that it had studied the accident reports coming to insurers from California, Louisiana, Minnesota, and Washington, all states which have adopted a law against texting in the past two years. The study showed that in three of the four states, the adoption of texting ban legislation is somehow associated with the increase in the number of insurance claims (read accidents).

We have a feeling most of you will have an opinion on this one, so we'll refrain from stating ours. For you to get a better idea about the two points of view, you can find the IIHS report here and the LaHood's answer here.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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