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Drivers know not to text and drive, but they still do it. Now there is hard evidence that states with texting bans are saving lives. With more than 7 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide according to the International Telecommunications Union and mobiThinking, that’s a lot of texting.

A new study by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health examined the effects of various texting bans on motor vehicular fatalities in 48 states from 2000-2010. They found that states with primary enforcement laws for texting, meaning an officer can pull over a driver for texting and driving, saw a 3 percent reduction in traffic fatalities across all age groups or an average of 19 deaths per year. Texting bans that affected only young drivers aged 15-21 years saw the greatest impact — an 11 percent reduction in deaths. States with only secondary restrictions (where the driver must be stopped for a primary offense like speeding and not just for texting) did not see any significant reduction in fatalities. Their findings were recently published in the August issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

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