Places that write a lot of tickets for distracted driving appear to have lower fatal crash rates than places that don’t, according to a report compiled by an online security services firm.
The analysis also found states that don’t have any laws against driving and using handheld devices also appear to have higher crash rates than those that do.
Safewise.com’s report, which compares laws on the books against distracted driving and federal traffic safety data, found statistical correlation between cracking down on distracted driving and traffic deaths.
Delaware, New York and Washington D.C. wrote the most tickets for distracted driving, for example, and also ranked among the jurisdictions with the lowest fatal crash rates, the report says.
New York and Delaware also issue points with those citations, and all three jurisdictions have laws banning driving and using handheld devices and prohibitions against texting and driving. Delaware issued 13,061 citations per 100,000 licensed drivers, compared with 11,996 in New York and 10,952 in the District.
In contrast, three states that have the highest number of traffic deaths per 100,000 people — Mississippi (23.1), Alabama (21.3) and South Carolina (20.5) — also appear to have the most lax stance on distracted driving, the report says. None has a ban on handheld devices while driving, and Mississippi was also among the states with the least aggressive approach to enforcement of distracted driving laws.
Three of the top ten deadliest states — Louisiana, Wyoming, and Mississippi — have issued less than 100 tickets collectively since their bans were passed.
Mississippi also is one of the states that prohibit local jurisdictions from enacting their own distracted driving bans.
The report acknowledges that cellphones are not the only cause of distraction on the road and also notes that other factors could explain some of the correlations, such as the availability of mass transit in New York and Washington. But the report also suggests that places that go after distracted driving are also saving people’s lives.
Sun Herald contributed to this report