GDL Cell Phone Restrictions
Research shows young drivers are at higher risk of crashing when they reach for a cell phone, dial a cell phone, or text while driving compared to when they do not engage in these behaviors (Klauer et al., 2014). As of November 2021 there were 36 States and the District of Columbia that had cell phone bans specifically targeting young drivers (IIHS, 2021a). Cell phone restrictions do not seem to reduce young drivers’ phone use. For example, an observational study of young drivers in North Carolina found no change in cell phone use after the State’s cell phone ban took effect despite widespread awareness of the restriction among licensed teens (Foss et al., 2009; Goodwin et al., 2012). Studies that have examined the effects of cell phone bans on young driver crashes have not been conclusive. Some studies suggest that texting bans for young drivers may increase crashes, perhaps as the result of concealing phones from view to avoid fines (Ehsani et al., 2014; HLDI, 2010). In a review of the research Ehsani et al. (2016) conclude that cell phone restrictions do not appear to result in a long-term deterrence of cell phone use by young drivers.