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Nanny-state unintended consequences department?

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The majority of states that have enacted bans on texting while driving have seen accident rates go up, rather than down. One theory is that, while texting while driving has gone down, this is more than offset by the increased number of people who try to surreptitiously text while drive by holding a smartphone below the steering wheel—a much more dangerous proposition. [MR]

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There is a simple fact in play here. Distracted drivers are dangerous and similar to intoxicated ones. I can't necessarily prove it by citing scholarly studies or learned treatises. But every time some one ahead of me is dawdling, driving too slow, swerving over the lane lines, sitting at a green light, taking too long to make a right turn or otherwise being a general pain, they are invariably yakking on a cell phone or texting. Or both. Take it from me and my anecdotal experience. You heard it here first.

Whether the law in question is effective or counterproductive is another matter. I thought "inattentive driving" was against the law in most, if not all states.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


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The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.