Driving While Texting Laws Did Not Reduce Crash Rate, Says Study

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Sec. LaHood's statement about the pilot programs did not mention collision rates -- the department's own study will take a year to complete -- but he pointed out that while NHTSA found that distracted-driving fatalities rose from 10 to 16 percent of all traffic fatalities between 2005 and 2008, the figure plateaued for the first time in 2009.

The reports coincide with the transportation department's national anti-distracted driving campaign and other public awareness efforts.

Governors Highway Safety Association: More Enforcement Needed

Last week, LaHood convened a second National Distracted Driving Summit in Washington, D.C. to draw attention to distracted driving, which, the department says, is responsible for one in every six highway deaths.

Jonathan Atkins, a spokesman for the Governors Highway Safety Association, said his organization welcomes the dialogue and research.

"We don't necessarily agree with the results or like the results, but we want to learn from them and see how we can strengthen these programs and bans," he said, adding that the HDLI-IIHS study is just one of several studies.

He said the association continues to support texting bans and wants every state to adopt one, but said they need to strengthen enforcement to make them more effective.

"This is not definitive, this is not the end. We're really just at the beginning," he said. "We're really where we were with drunk driving about 20 years ago. We know there's a problem, but we don't quite know what to do about it."

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