Car Texting More Popular After It's Outlawed
California's texting-while-driving ban took effect at the beginning of 2009.
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Did that make you put the phones down? No way. Of course the period since 2009 has seen the introduction of the most-popular, inexpensive iPhones yet, the 4 and 5 series, as well as the emergence of Samsung's popular Galaxy line of smartphones:
And so, texting-while-driving in the Golden State has been exploding.
The AAA of California recently released its annual roadside observational surveys. It found that handset-to-head cellphone use is down 57 percent since California's no-handsets-while-driving law took effect in 2008.
But texting while driving is up 126 since the 2009 ban. About 4 percent of drivers were doing it last year, the AAA says, compared to 1.5 percent before the law.
The folks at AAA note in a statement that there has been "tremendous growth in texting overall during the last five years."
Indeed, that might explain the reduction in behind-the-wheel headset-to-ear use.
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AAA also says that there is "difficulty in enforcing the ban" on texting.
Indeed, that's been our pet peeve for a while: You can dial and pick-up calls legally, so how do cops know you're not doing that? It's a law about content, content police usually can't know.
And so of 790,000 mobile-phone-related citations issued by the CHP since 2008, only 30,000 involved texting-while-driving, the AAA says.
Steven A. Bloch, the AAA's traffic safety researcher:
Officers experience difficulty in citing texting since motorists can conceal their behavior inside the vehicle much more easily than when using a handheld cell phone. This impacts how effective the law can be as a deterrent.Laws that can't be enforced are stupid, needless laws. If you get into an accident because you were texting-and-driving you would face a whole world of legal hurt even without the no-texting rule.
That sounds like a deterrent to us.