Reduced teen auto accident deaths credited to distracted driving laws

If you are wondering if anti-distracted driving laws in New York and across the country are having any effect, here is some good news.

A massive study of national auto accident data has revealed that teenage deaths in crashes have dropped by one-third since 2017. By that year, nearly every state in the U.S. had passed some form of a distracted driving ban, whether it was prohibiting texting and driving, banning cellphone use by teenage drivers, or a total ban on handheld cellphone use by all motorists.

2018 was the turning point

It appears that those laws have been having an effect over the past three years. The study examined data from 38,000 fatal car accident reports compiled by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), going back to 2007. From that year to 2017, about 20 teenage drivers died per 100,000 drivers, peaking at nearly 30 teen deaths per 100,000 drivers in 2017.

But in 2018 — the same year that 32 states passed new or additional distracted driving bans — the fatality rate for teens dropped to 18.7 per 100,000 motorists. These new laws included both “primary” bans and “secondary bans. A primary ban allows police to stop and cite a driver if the officer has evidence the driver is using their phone. For states with a secondary ban, the officer must pull over the driver for another reason, such as speeding, and can only make distracted driving an additional traffic offense.

Still, secondary ban laws have had a positive effect. Researchers credited such laws with a 20% drop in the teen driver fatality rate. But primary ban laws were more effective, causing a 29% drop in the rate.

What to do when a distracted driver creates a loss in your family

Hopefully, this trend will continue. Nobody’s life should be in the hands of a distracted driver. But sadly, fatal distracted driving crashes are likely to continue in Nassau and Suffolk counties. When they do, families can turn to experienced, compassionate personal injury attorneys to help them understand their legal options.