U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray La Hood announced that pilot studies in Syracuse, New York and Hartford, Connecticut aimed at reducing cell phone use and texting by drivers were remarkably successful. ”These findings show that strong laws, combined with highly visible police enforcement, can significantly reduce dangerous texting and cell phone use behind the wheel,” stated La Hood.
Before and after observations in Syracuse revealed that cell phone use and texting of drivers declined by one-third, while in Hartford the decline was more dramatic, with a 57% drop in handheld cell phone use and almost a 75% reduction in drivers’ texting while behind the wheel. There were four periods of increased police enforcement in each city and more than 9,000 tickets for violations issued in each city. La Hood concluded, “Based on these results, it is crystal clear that those who try to minimize this dangerous behavior are making a serious error in judgment, especially when half a million people are injured and thousands more are killed in distracted driving accidents.”
We applaud federal and state efforts to demonstrate that laws, enforcement and education can have a huge difference in making our highways safer for all of us.