No Evidence that California’s Hands Free Law Lowered Accidents

In a study lead by economics professor Daniel Kaffine at the Universtiy of Colorado, they determined that California’s hands free law did not affect the rate of accidents at all. This study was published this July and was sponsored

At first, bureaucrats thought the hand held ban was effective and they reported a substantial drop in the rate of accidents.  However, the University of Colorado researchers discovered that if you normalize for other factors such as the prevailing weather, then there was no actual effect.

Some researchers have claimed that talking on a cell phone is about as dangerous as driving drunk with an accident rate about 4X higher than not talking on a cell phone. Quoting Professor Kaffine: “If it’s really that dangerous, and if even just a fraction of people stop using their phones, we would expect to find some decrease in accidents,” said Daniel Kaffine, an associate professor of economics at CU-Boulder and an author of the study. “But we didn’t find any statistical evidence of a reduction.”

The state of California hands out an average of about 30,000 hand held cell phone tickets at a cost of about $162 per ticket. You would think this would cause people to stop talking in a handheld manner. Professor Kaffine can only speculate on why there was no drop in accidents. Either talking on a cell phone is not really as dangerous as people think, or people who talk on cell phones are more inclined to simply ignore that law. Some have also speculated that people are still talking on their cell phones, they are just getting better at hiding their hand held behavior.

As always comments are welcome.




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