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Jon Peltier

Have you discussed your analysis (a very good one, by the way) with HLDI?

Will they ever discuss it?


Are the spikes on either side of the MN texting ban (in August) just the cyclical increase of accidents during winter? The states in the first graph don't have much of a winter spike because they mostly don't get snow/ice (except in the mountains), right?

Tom West

UltraNurd makes a good point. Daily, weekly or monthly crash rates are far to prone to cycical variations. A moving annual average would be far more useful.

The real message seems to be "text bans don't stop peopel texting". The main practical upshot is that if you are involved in a collision while texting, your insurance company may decide you were driving illegally, and make you pay.

Joe Lotz

UltraNerd is exactly right. This is where comparing teh trends between the non-banned and banned states are important, as Kaiser suggests. These spikes could (and probably) are cyclical affects, like snow season, Christmas/New Year holiday season.

The sensationalism of their conclusion is pathetic. "...what they MIGHT have been doing was moving their phones down..."

Further more, what they MIGHT have been doing were math problems causing aliens to destract them resulting in accidents. The conclusion? Math is dangerous and should never be taught!!


Nice Ultranurd. Great write up! Perhaps behavior will change as the rules are enforced. It's like trying to stop me from biting my finger nails! AGH


Jon: unfortunately I don't have the time to contact HLDI or any of the other organizations featured on the blog. It would be nice if they would correct their press release though.

UltraNurd and others: if your suggestion is true, then their choice of states to compare against each other is flawed!


Another potential issue with the analysis could be that a large percentage of the people most likely to comply with the ban on texting had already stopped texting prior to the ban taking effect. Being aware of the upcoming ban and the reasons behind it, it seems reasonable to suppose many would have chosen to self-implement prior to the legal requirement. The numbers presented during the discussion indicating a roughly 3-fold increase in accident rate while texting are quite compelling.

David Norman

Hi, Kaiser,
Reading your blog from the first post, so though this is way after the post date, it's still new to me.

Just wanted to chime in that I disagree that:
"When they state the claim "texting bans don't reduce crashes", it sends the message that despite drivers not texting while driving, accidents remain as frequent as before. That's absolutely not what the research is saying."

While one can infer that the statement means: "Texting bans, when perfect, enforced, and followed, do not reduce crahes" the simple fact is the statement is "Texting bans don't reduce crashes" and that means nothing more than "Implementing a law banning texting doesn't reduce crahses." The reason for the non-reduction, especially non-compliance, is not inferable, and the statement remains very true.

Great blog, by the way!

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Kaiser Fung. Business analytics and data visualization expert. Author and Speaker.
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