Are Oregon’s roads even more dangerous SINCE we passed the texting ban?

Nineteen states and Washington, D.C., have banned it. The Transportation Department prohibits truckers and bus drivers from doing it.

President Obama has outlawed the practice for all federal employees, and Jonathan Adkins of the Governors Highway Safety Association thinks it should be forbidden in every state.

Don't Text and DriveDespite all that, many people still text while driving. In fact, here in Oregon, we KEEP on doing it and it’s making our roads even more dangerous.

In a recent article published in The Oregonian they found that the texting bans appear to cause more crashes, according to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

“Texting bans haven’t reduced crashes at all,” Adrian Lund, president of the institute, said in a statement. “In a perverse twist, crashes increased in 3 of the 4 states we studied after bans were enacted. It’s an indication that texting bans might even increase the risk of texting for drivers who continue to do so despite the laws.”

Oregon’s ban on texting behind the wheel went into effect Jan. 1. Since then, police say they have seen motorists become even more erratic as they go out of their way to hide texting from view.

“It makes them even more distracted,” said Portland police Lt. Kelli Sheffer. “You can see why there would be more crashes.”

It’s too early to say whether the cell phone bans in Oregon and Washington have increased the number of crashes, the Oregon Department of Transportation said.

However, authorities say there’s no evidence that drivers have braked their old distracted-driving habits.

Click here to read more of The Oregonian article, “Portland and state police not surprised by study showing texting bans cause crashes.”

Tom Petersen, an Oregon, California and Washington personal injury attorney said, “The increase in distracted driving traffic accidents and serious crashes is no doubt due in large part to the use of cell phones and texting while operating a vehicle.”

An Oregon Travel Experience and Oregon State Police 2014 study indicated 10 percent of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. Drivers in their 20s make up 27 percent of the distracted drivers in fatal crashes. (NHTSA)

The distraction of reaching for a phone, dialing or texting increased the risk of getting into a crash by three times. (VTTI) A National Safety Council found that one out of every four traffic accidents resulted from people talking on cell phones or sending text messages.

Petersen went on to say, “My recommendation is to PUT YOUR PHONE AWAY when you are driving. A text or a call is not worth the risk of an accident and more importantly causing injury to you or another person. Pledge to turn off your phone when you turn the ignition on.”

Tom Petersen, a partner in the Oregon, California and Washington Personal Injury Law Firm of Black Chapman, Petersen and Stevens graduated from U.C. Berkeley and then graduated from law school at Southwestern University in 1981. Tom is admitted to practice law in California, Oregon and Washington. Tom is a member of the Oregon State Bar, Washington State Bar, California State Bar, Consumer Attorneys of California, The Washington State Trial Lawyers Association and The National Crimes Victim’s Association. Tom has practiced law since 1982.