New study finds texting laws not helpful - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

New study finds texting laws not helpful

DUBUQUE (KWWL)-- A new study says laws that ban texting while driving, including the one here in Iowa, don't reduce wrecks, instead it might actually increase your risk to be in an accident. Some say catching someone in the act may make it too hard to enforce or perhaps drivers are getting dangerously good at hiding it.

It's been just three months since Iowa banned texting while driving. But Dubuque jumped on board first when the city passed an ordinance prohibiting the use of cell phones while driving.

"I still do see people, mostly talking rather than texting at intersections mostly," said Emergency Room nurse Katie Dunne.

That ordinance was trumped on July 1 when the Iowa law took effect. Tuesday, a study released by a branch of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that data showed crashes increased in California, Louisiana, and Minnesota. And while that study shows that states that ban texting and driving may not be safer, officials in Dubuque disagree.

"When your texting, I mean that takes your eyes off the road and that sets you up for accidents," Dunne said.

Dubuque isn't alone. Nationwide, transportation officials say that report is flawed, citing that most bans are new and it's simply too soon to draw conclusions.

"The institute study didn't take that into account. They picked states without those elements. You can't say whether laws are effective until you have those pieces," said National Highway Safety Administrator David Strickland.

True or not, The Finley Hospital in Dubuque is asking drivers to take a pledge. "Just Drive" is the campaign. All you have to do is sign a pledge, saying you won't drive distracted. Then you put a cling sticker in your window.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood criticized the report as misleading. He says the bans are important in helping stop deaths from distracted driving, but states must enforce them and people must obey them.

Dubuque high schools have also jumped on board with the "Just Drive" Campaign. Students are taking the pledge and putting the stickers on their cars.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

Follow Lauren on Twitter.

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