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Laws Banning Teens From Texting Are Ineffective, New Study Finds

Intel Free Press

Nationwide Children's Hospital conducted a study that found laws banning only teen drivers from texting are not as effective as laws that apply to all drivers.

The study by Nationwide Children’s Hospital used data from a national survey on teen drivers. It found that universal bans on texting did not fully discourage teens from texting while driving. Texting bans just for teens only were even less effective.  

“The difficulty is because we see low enforcement of these type of laws and its harder for police officers to identify a person’s age and then give a ticket," says the study's lead author, Dr. Motao Zhu.

Zhu says teen drivers did report 55 percent fewer hand-held phone conversations in states that ban all drivers from making such calls.

Fifteen states have a universal ban on any hand-held cellphone use behind the wheel.

Ohio has a cellphone ban for drivers under age 18. It also has a texting ban for all drivers.

Debbie Holmes has worked at WOSU News since 2009. She has hosted All Things Considered, since May 2021. Prior to that she was the host of Morning Edition and a reporter.