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Accid Anal Prev. 2012 Sep;48:363-7. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2012.02.006. Epub 2012 Mar 7.

Effect of North Carolina's restriction on teenage driver cell phone use two years after implementation.

Author information

1
University of North Carolina, Highway Safety Research Center, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3430, USA. arthur_goodwin@unc.edu

Abstract

A majority of states now restrict teenagers from using a mobile communication device while driving. The effect of these restrictions is largely unknown. In a previous study, we found North Carolina's teenage driver cell phone restriction had little influence on young driver behavior four months after the law took effect (Foss et al., 2009). The goal of the present study was to examine the longer-term effect of North Carolina's cell phone restriction. It was expected that compliance with the restriction would increase, as awareness of the restriction grew over time. Teenagers were observed at high schools in North Carolina approximately two years after the law was implemented. Observations were also conducted in South Carolina, which did not have a cell phone restriction. In both states, there was a broad decrease in cell phone use. A logistic regression analysis showed the decrease in cell phone use did not significantly differ between the two states. Although hand-held cell phone use decreased, there was an increase in the likelihood that drivers in North Carolina were observed physically manipulating a phone. Finally, a mail survey of teenagers in North Carolina showed awareness for the cell phone restriction now stands at 78% among licensed teens. Overall, the findings suggest North Carolina's cell phone restriction has had no long-term effect on the behavior of teenage drivers. Moreover, it appears many teenage drivers may be shifting from talking on a phone to texting.

PMID:
22664702
DOI:
10.1016/j.aap.2012.02.006
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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