States with the Worst Distraction Laws Have the Least Distracted Drivers

In a recent report by Arity, a mobility data company, researchers derived insights that the states with the laxest laws regarding distraction on the road have the least amount of distracted drivers. Before we get into these insights, let us understand a few simple things – what are distraction laws, what are distracted drivers, and what are distraction driving crashes/accidents?

According to Milwaukee car accident lawyers, distraction laws specify what drivers can or cannot do while driving motor vehicles. One of the common laws is about the usage of phones while driving. Some states have permitted the usage of phones behind the wheel, while others haven’t. Distraction-related accidents are caused when drivers are distracted while looking at their phones or doing something else.

Now that you know about these terminologies, let’s get into the report by Arity. The company tracked and analyzed mobile phone data of US drivers spanning trillions of miles across 4 years. The idea was to check how often drivers are likely to check their phones in a mile. The results of this study baffled the analysts at first glance, but with careful deliberation, an understanding was achieved.

The states with the least distracted drivers were Wyoming, New Mexico, Montana, and Missouri. Interestingly, Wyoming allows its teenagers with driving licenses to use cell phones while driving. However, what’s truly fascinating is that New Mexico has been ranked as the state with the highest reported distraction-related crashes for the last three years.

The states with the most distracted drivers were Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. The three states have been commended for their driving-related laws. Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety have deemed the laws optimal, and car accident lawyers also consider the regulations in these states to be just right when it comes to the safety of motorists. However, these are the states with the most distracted drivers.

However, the factors considered during the analysis could be the reason behind such jaw-dropping statistics. For example, the researchers measured the per mile driven, not per capita or per driving license in the state. If they consider these factors, the study’s insights might be different.

We would get different results if the researchers had taken just the state and national highway data. After all, people are more likely to keep their phones down and enjoy the scenery when passing through pleasant landscape, compared to when they are surrounded by heavy traffic in metropolitan cities such as New York City.

The study also poses bigger questions, such as what can the government bodies do to prevent more accidents caused by distractions. Currently, the states have constructed roads that facilitate the smooth moving of traffic and ensure the vehicles don’t go beyond a certain speed limit. However, that alone might not be enough. Although such measures drastically decline the severity of the crashes, Arity recorded that there has been a 30% increase in phone-related accidents in the last four years.

Megan Jones, the Analytics Director of Arity, is of the opinion that the problem of phones and handheld devices must be attacked from different directions. According to her, banning phones while driving wouldn’t be effective as people would use other handheld devices. Furthermore, she believes that states should increase the fine amount and stronger penalties for people found driving with phones and other handheld devices. Besides this, the marketing team can have a two-pronged approach. One would be to showcase the different ways in which distracted driving can affect motorists. The other would be to focus on the positive side as well.

In summary, the problem with phones and handheld devices is likely bound to increase as the usage increases. People are becoming increasingly addicted to phones, and states across the nation must have better laws to attack this problem and mitigate its effects.


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