According to a study by the Highway Loss Data Institute, legislation that prohibits drivers from using hand-held phones or texting while driving don't appear to reduce the incidence of car crashes, reports The Wall Street Journal.
While the laws have been effective in getting people to use hands-free devices for driving, there is no indication that hands-free devices have had any impact on the number of car accidents. CNET News quotes Russ Rader, spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, as saying:
Hands-free devices are no less risky than using a handheld phone. And this indicates that the issue is really about the distracted driver. It's much bigger than drivers using cell phones.
The Transportation Department is none too happy about the study:
it is irresponsible to suggest that laws banning cell phone use while driving have zero effect on the number of crashes on our nation's roadways. A University of Utah study shows that using a cell phone while driving can be just as dangerous and deadly as driving drunk. We know that by enacting and enforcing tough laws, states have reduced the number of crashes leading to injuries and fatalities.
The study comes on the heels of a recommendation by the National Transportation Safety Board to ban cell phone use by bus and truck drivers.