Longer-Term Effects of Washington, DC, Law on Drivers' Hand-Held Cell Phone Use

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Arlington, Virginia 22201, USA.
Traffic Injury Prevention (Impact Factor: 1.41). 07/2007; 8(2):199-204. DOI: 10.1080/15389580701238859
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To determine whether the substantial short-term declines in drivers' use of hand-held phones achieved in the District of Columbia (DC) were sustained 1 year after a ban.
Drivers' daytime hand-held cell phone use was observed in DC and nearby areas of Virginia and Maryland, states without bans. Observations were conducted several months before the ban, shortly after, and 1 year later. The number of vehicles observed in all three surveys combined was 51,945 in DC, 36,796 in Maryland, and 43,033 in Virginia.
The rate of talking on hand-held phones declined significantly from 6.1 percent before the law to 3.5 percent shortly after; when measured 1 year later, use was 4.0 percent, still significantly lower than baseline. Based on increases in rates of talking on hand-held phones in Maryland and Virginia, longer-term phone use in DC was estimated to be 53 percent lower than would have been expected without the ban. Declines in DC were identified for drivers of vehicles registered in all three jurisdictions.
In DC, there was an initial decline of about 50 percent in drivers talking on hand-held cell phones following a ban, and this decline was sustained about 1 year later. After a similar ban in New York, there was an initial decline in phone use comparable with the initial decline in DC, but the decline a year after the New York ban took full effect was only about 21 percent and not statistically significant. The potential difference in sustained effectiveness for the DC ban may reflect tougher enforcement in DC. Even if full compliance with hand-held phone bans can be achieved, the risks from drivers' use of hands-free phones will remain.

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    • "Broad public awareness and high-profile enforcement are essential to successful policy implementation. Previous studies have demonstrated both enforcement [17e19] and publicity [20] [21] mediate behavior change after the introduction of cell phone restrictions. The current study was limited in its ability to account for rates of enforcement and levels of public awareness of the texting restriction. "
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of Michigan's universal text messaging restriction (effective July 2010) across different age groups of drivers and crash severities. Methods Changes in monthly crash rates and crash trends per 10,000 licensed drivers aged 16, 17, 18, 19, 20–24, and 25–50 years were estimated using time series analysis for three levels of crash severity: (1) fatal/disabling injury; (2) nondisabling injury; and (3) possible injury/property damage only (PDO) crashes for the period 2005–2012. Analyses were adjusted for crash rates of drivers' aged 65–99 years, Michigan's unemployment rate, and gasoline prices. Results After the introduction of the texting restriction, significant increases were observed in crash rates and monthly trends in fatal/disabling injury crashes and nondisabling injury crashes, and significant decreases in possible injury/PDO crashes. The magnitude of the effects where significant changes were observed was small. Conclusions The introduction of the texting restriction was not associated with a reduction in crash rates or trends in severe crash types. On the contrary, small increases in the most severe crash types (fatal/disabling and nondisabling injury) and small decreases in the least severe crash types (possible injury/PDO) were observed. These findings extend the literature on the effects of cell phone restrictions by examining the effects of the restriction on newly licensed adolescent drivers and adult drivers separately by crash severity.
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    • "Unsurprisingly , research reveals that substantial and sus - tained enforcement is the basic requirement . In Washington , DC ( the case without the substantial ' ' rebound ' ' ) , in the 12 months following the enactment of the law , 9 , 718 citations were issued for drivers talking on handheld phones ( 8% of total vehicle citations ) as well as a further 4 , 500 warnings ( McCartt & Hellinga , 2007 ) . A Melbourne study reported similar levels of activity and , signifi - cantly , also noted the use of further tactics to maintain the law in the mind ' s eye . "
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    ABSTRACT: The authors present a case study examining the potential for policies to be “evidence-based.” To what extent is it possible to say that a decision to implement a complex social intervention is warranted on the basis of available empirical data? The case chosen is whether there is sufficient evidence to justify banning smoking in cars carrying children. The numerous assumptions underpinning such legislation are elicited, the weight and validity of evidence for each is appraised, and a mixed picture emerges. Certain propositions seem well supported; others are not yet proven and possibly unknowable. The authors argue that this is the standard predicament of evidence-based policy. Evidence does not come in finite chunks offering certainty and security to policy decisions. Rather, evidence-based policy is an accumulative process in which the data pursue but never quite capture unfolding policy problems. The whole point is the steady conversion of “unknowns” to “knowns.”
    American Journal of Evaluation 11/2011; 32(4):518-546. DOI:10.1177/1098214011403831 · 2.02 Impact Factor
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    • "In term of the 'threat' of insufficient enforcement resources (e.g. policing time and/or commitment) our included studies clearly indicated that where local police were willing to devote resources to enforcement, then sustained compliance is achievable[38,42-44]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Legislation is one of the most powerful weapons for improving population health and is often used by policy and decision makers. Little research exists to guide them as to whether legislation is feasible and/or will succeed. We aimed to produce a coherent and transferable evidence based framework of threats to legislative interventions to assist the decision making process and to test this through the 'case study' of legislation to ban smoking in cars carrying children. We conceptualised legislative interventions as a complex social interventions and so used the realist synthesis method to systematically review the literature for evidence. 99 articles were found through searches on five electronic databases (MEDLINE, HMIC, EMBASE, PsychINFO, Social Policy and Practice) and iterative purposive searching. Our initial searches sought any studies that contained information on smoking in vehicles carrying children. Throughout the review we continued where needed to search for additional studies of any type that would conceptually contribute to helping build and/or test our framework. Our framework identified a series of transferable threats to public health legislation. When applied to smoking bans in vehicles; problem misidentification; public support; opposition; and enforcement issues were particularly prominent threats. Our framework enabled us to understand and explain the nature of each threat and to infer the most likely outcome if such legislation were to be proposed in a jurisdiction where no such ban existed. Specifically, the micro-environment of a vehicle can contain highly hazardous levels of second hand smoke. Public support for such legislation is high amongst smokers and non-smokers and their underlying motivations were very similar - wanting to practice the Millian principle of protecting children from harm. Evidence indicated that the tobacco industry was not likely to oppose legislation and arguments that such a law would be 'unenforceable' were unfounded. It is possible to develop a coherent and transferable evidence based framework of the ideas and assumptions behind the threats to legislative intervention that may assist policy and decision makers to analyse and judge if legislation is feasible and/or likely to succeed.
    BMC Public Health 04/2011; 11(1):222. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-11-222 · 2.26 Impact Factor
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