NHTSA Program Shows Education and Enforcement Reduce Distracted Driving

A pilot program aimed at reducing the number car accidents due to distracted drivers on the roads has proven to be successful for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The pilot program, called “Phone in One Hand, Ticket in the Other,” was styled after another very successful safety program, the “Click It or Ticket” campaign, according to USA Today.

Piloted in Syracuse, NY, and Hartford, CT, the program used increased police enforcement of distracted driving laws joined with public education campaigns at four different times – April, July and October 2010, and March – April 2011. Results of the program show every indication of it being successful; including, drops of 32 percent in both cell phone use and texting in Syracuse, and drops of 57 percent for cell phone use and 72 percent for texting in Hartford.

The NHTSA notes that all forms of distracted driving are dangerous, but texting while driving is the “most alarming” form of distraction because all three main types of distraction are engaged in while texting:

According to NHTSA statistics, that of all car accidents resulting in injuries in 2009, 20 percent involved distracted driving. Further, cell phones accounted for 18 percent of all distracted-driving fatalities in 2009.

USA Today reports that studies from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have shown that texting and handheld phone bans alone do not reduce the number of accidents; but, NHTSA’s program shows promise that bans along with increased enforcement and educational campaigns may keep people safe.

Source: Distracted-driving programs show success