IIHS: Cell phone ban won't help

December 20, 2011 12:00 AM

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) made waves last week when it suggested that all states ban the use of cell phones and hands-free devices in cars. The group says that phones play a huge role in accidents, but the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) now contends that a ban wouldn't be all that effective.

The IIHS says that according to a study that compared accident rates in states with cell phone bans against those that do not have laws in place, getting rid of cell phones does not ultimately affect the accident rate. The study also looked at a "before and after" within states that had cell phone bans, and also found that rates remained unchanged, reports CNN.

Ultimately, the group says, the problem isn't phones, but the drivers using them.

"Part of it is that distracted driving is much bigger than just phones," IIHS spokesman Russ Rader told the news source. "So focusing on phones doesn't deal with the full spectrum of things that distract."

The NTSB recommendation has also received objections from automakers, many of whom are saying that their new in-car wireless systems help drivers with distracted driving, despite the NTSB suggesting a ban on them as well.

Ultimately, vehicle safety depends both on driver behavior and the vehicle in question. A car that is up-to-date on auto maintenance is less likely to have serious malfunctions that could contribute to a crash, for example.

Back to news