Now that we’ve passed laws nearly everywhere…
Recent legislation banning the use of handheld phones by drivers had basically no effect on the number of road accidents, according to a new study.
“If it’s really that dangerous, and if even just a fraction of people stop using their phones, we would expect to find some decrease in accidents,” says professor Daniel Kaffine, who worked on the analysis. “But we didn’t find any statistical evidence of a reduction.”
It seems that Kaffine and his colleagues took steps to iron out at least the most obvious extraneous factors. We are told:
The researchers chose to look a relatively narrow window of time to reduce the number of other variables that might have an impact on accident rates, including the possible introduction of safer cars into the market, an economic recession that leads to a drop in overall driving, or other changes to state traffic laws.
They also corrected their data to account for precipitation, which can cause more accidents; gas prices, which can affect how many vehicles are on the road; and other unobservable factors that may have influenced accidents.
Once all these corrections had been made, the effect of banning handheld phone use at the wheel was found to be … zero.
“Our results suggest that simply banning hand-held cellphone use may not produce the desired increase in traffic safety,” comments Kaffine, bluntly.
It’s basically a waste of breath/keystrokes but it still needs to be said:
Perhaps using activist funded, correlational studies done in contrived test situations as a foundation for passing legislation already used to extract millions of dollars in fines on almost the entirety of three continents without ever testing such to see if it did any good at all in the real world may not have been the best public safety strategy ever…
But then, we elected the (statistical analysis skills devoid) people that bought into and passed those laws…