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Study: texting and driving bans reduce trips to ER

In Connecticut and across the nation, legislators and law enforcement are debating how to handle the increasing number of drivers who are distracted behind the wheel. This involves texting and driving and other behaviors using a smartphone. Because the practice is so dangerous, researchers are assessing data to determine how to tackle the problem. There had been a limited amount of information as to how effective legislation and crackdowns are. Information is not just important for safety, but is critical for those who have been hurt in an auto accident and are considering a legal filing to be compensated.

One new study published in the American Journal of Public Health shows that banning texting and driving has been successful in reducing emergency room visits after a crash. According to researchers from Texas A & M, there was a reduction of 4 percent in the number of people who needed treatment in an emergency room after car accidents in states that had some form of ban on texting and driving. The statistics were from 2007 to 2014. That 4 percent came to a total of 1,632 fewer people who needed such treatment each year.

There are only three states in the U.S. that have yet to restrict texting and driving -- Arizona, Montana and Missouri. All other states have banned it either as a primary offense or a secondary offense. A primary offense means that law enforcement can stop a vehicle if a driver is texting and driving. A secondary offense means that there must be another violation like driving through a red light before there can be a citation for texting and driving. It is a primary offense in Connecticut.

In the study, 15 of the 16 states that were examined had banned texting and driving in some way. The reduction of emergency room visits was, in total, 4 percent. For states where it was a primary offense, it was 8 percent. Because distracted driving is so dangerous and prevalent, these factors must be considered. In 2016, there were almost 3,500 deaths and 391,000 injuries because of it.

Simply watching other drivers will show that there are a significant portion who are looking down at their phone while behind the wheel. Although steps are being taken to reduce the risk and cite drivers who do it, law enforcement cannot catch everyone. When there is an auto accident, the injuries, medical expenses, lost income and other issues can be catastrophic personally and financially. If there is a fatality, the family will need help to get beyond the unnecessary loss of life. A law firm experienced in car accidents can help with investigating how the accident happened and pursuing a lawsuit.

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