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Using Electronic Devices While Driving: Legislation and Enforcement Implications (2021)

Chapter: Appendix H - Highlight Document for Legislators

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix H - Highlight Document for Legislators." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Using Electronic Devices While Driving: Legislation and Enforcement Implications. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26082.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix H - Highlight Document for Legislators." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Using Electronic Devices While Driving: Legislation and Enforcement Implications. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26082.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix H - Highlight Document for Legislators." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Using Electronic Devices While Driving: Legislation and Enforcement Implications. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26082.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix H - Highlight Document for Legislators." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Using Electronic Devices While Driving: Legislation and Enforcement Implications. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26082.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix H - Highlight Document for Legislators." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Using Electronic Devices While Driving: Legislation and Enforcement Implications. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26082.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix H - Highlight Document for Legislators." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Using Electronic Devices While Driving: Legislation and Enforcement Implications. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26082.
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H-1 A P P E N D I X H Highlight Document for Legislators

H-2 Using Electronic Devices While Driving: Legislation and Enforcement Implications Promote Legislation to Reduce Distracted Driving Distracted driving is a major public health and safety concern. An estimated 2,841 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2018.1 Distracted driving is underreported and is likely a contributing cause in far more fatal crashes. Dialing, texting, and browsing the internet on electronic devices are some of the most common distractions while driving. Studies show that engaging in these behaviors while driving is extremely risky. It takes about five seconds, on average, to read or send a text. In that time span, when a driver’s eyes are on a device and not on the road, a vehicle traveling at 55 miles per hour can travel the length of a football field.2 Why We Need a Stronger Law Constituents want a stronger law A survey of over 700 drivers 63% said they were more afraid of distracted drivers than drunk drivers.3 A majority of drivers support laws restricting distracted driving, with almost 75% supporting a law against holding and talking on a cellphone and 88% supporting a law against reading, typing, or sending a text or email while driving.4 Stronger laws may increase funding for traffic safety initiatives Section 405 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, the National Priority Safety Program, provides funding to address selected national priorities for reducing highway deaths and injuries. Specifically, 8.5% of 405 funds (called 405E) are earmarked for distracted driving grants. To have access to the funds, states must enact and enforce a prohibition on texting as well as a ban on the use of all electronic devices for all drivers aged 18 and younger, plus meet additional requirements. Eligible states can use 50% of the 405E funds for Section 402 purposes, which include a broader range of traffic safety initiatives, such as drug- and alcohol-impaired driving. The FAST Act also allows states with distracted driving data conforming to the most recent Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria (MMUCC) to use 75% of the funds for Section 402 purposes.8 1. National Center for Statistics and Analysis. (2019, October). 2018 Fatal motor vehicle crashes: Overview (Traffic Safety Facts Research Note. Report No. DOT HS 812 826). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 2. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (n.d.). Distracted driving. Available at: https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving. 3. Cambridge Mobile Telematics. (2018, February 15). Distracted driving vs. drunk driving: Fear and solutions. Available at: https://www.cmtelematics. com/blog/distracted-driving-vs-drunk-driving-fear-solutions/. 4. AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. (2019, June). 2018 Traffic Safety Culture Index. Available at: https://aaafoundation.org/2018-traffic-safety-culture- index/. 5. Ferdinand, A. O., Aftab, A., & Akinlotan, M. A. (2019). Texting-while-driving bans and motor vehicle crash–related emergency department visits in 16 US states: 2007–2014. American Journal of Public Health, 109(5), 748-754. 6. Karl, J. B., & Nyce, C. (2017). How cellphone bans affect automobile insurance markets. Journal of Risk and Insurance, 86, 567-593. doi: 10.1111/ jori.12224 7. Richard, C. M., Magee, K., Bacon-Abdelmoteleb, P., & Brown, J. L. (2018). Countermeasures that work: A highway safety countermeasure guide for State Highway Safety Offices (Report No. DOT HS 812 478). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 8. Governors Highway Safety Association. (n.d.). Section 405 National Priority Safety Program. Available at: https://www.ghsa.org/about/federal-grant- programs/405. Stronger laws can prevent injuries and save money Distracted driving laws have resulted in significant reductions in motor vehicle crash-related emergency department visits.5 Distracted driving laws banning handheld use of a cellphone reduce losses and incurred loss ratios of automobile insurers by approximately 3%.6 Increased ability to enforce the law Distracted driving laws that include clear language and cover common risky behaviors increase enforcement capability. Increased high-visibility enforcement, along with strong public awareness campaigns, reduce at-risk driving behaviors across various highway safety issues.7 Key Components of a Strong Electronic Device Use Law Effective legislation should include the following key components: FOCUS 1. The law must take into account current technologies and uses, as well as make provisions for future technology. 2. The language must ensure the law is enforceable. 3. The law must attempt to stop the most dangerous behaviors associated with electronic device use; specifically, behaviors that result in diversion of attention from the driving task by taking eyes off the road for any extended period of time, even if the electronic device is hands-free or mounted.9 CONTENT ■ Using the terminology “electronic device” as opposed to “cellphone” or “mobile device,” allows for greater inclusion of devices covered by the law. ■ The law should prohibit the use of electronic devices at all times when the vehicle is traveling on public roads, including when the vehicle is at traffic signals and when it is temporarily slowed or stopped in traffic. Use of the electronic device should be permitted only when the vehicle is legally parked or pulled over on the side of the road. This is an important safety component and ensures enforceability of the law. ■ The language should clearly state driver behaviors that are in violation of the law. The driver should not: – Hold or support an electronic device with any part of his/her body. – Use the electronic device to manually dial numbers or input text or to engage in multiple swipes or taps. This includes when the device is used hands-free (mounted, affixed, or resting somewhere in the vehicle). – Use an electronic device to stream, record, or broadcast video. This includes when the device is used hands-free (mounted, affixed, or resting somewhere in the vehicle). – Use the electronic device or applications on the device that display motion on the device’s screen, with the exception of GPS or navigational software. This includes when the device is used hands-free (mounted, affixed, or resting somewhere in the vehicle). ■ Penalties and fines should be clearly defined: – Fines should be in line with other traffic safety laws, in order to increase public support. Incremental fines should be in place for subsequent violations. – Penalties for distracted driving should also be in line with other serious traffic offenses. There is some belief that points against a driver’s license that have the potential to result in temporary suspension or loss of a license are more impactful than monetary fines at modifying the behavior. Additionally, points on a license are often associated with increased insurance rates, making the penalty more punitive. ■ The law should have few exemptions. Possible exemptions include: – Law enforcement and first responders in the line of duty. – Reporting an emergency. – Use of GPS or navigational system hands-free, with no allowance for manual entry while driving. ■ Additional provisions or restrictions may include: – More stringent restrictions for drivers under 18 years of age. – More punitive measures for drivers causing serious injury or death while using an electronic device. – Separate legislation or additional provisions for other types of distractions such as eating, grooming, reading, etc.9. Lee, J. D., Young, K. L., & Regan, M. A. (2008). Defining driver distraction. Driver Distraction: Theory, Effects, and Mitigation, 13(4), 31-40.

Highlight Document for Legislators H-3 Key Components of a Strong Electronic Device Use Law Effective legislation should include the following key components: FOCUS 1. The law must take into account current technologies and uses, as well as make provisions for future technology. 2. The language must ensure the law is enforceable. 3. The law must attempt to stop the most dangerous behaviors associated with electronic device use; specifically, behaviors that result in diversion of attention from the driving task by taking eyes off the road for any extended period of time, even if the electronic device is hands-free or mounted.9 CONTENT ■ Using the terminology “electronic device” as opposed to “cellphone” or “mobile device,” allows for greater inclusion of devices covered by the law. ■ The law should prohibit the use of electronic devices at all times when the vehicle is traveling on public roads, including when the vehicle is at traffic signals and when it is temporarily slowed or stopped in traffic. Use of the electronic device should be permitted only when the vehicle is legally parked or pulled over on the side of the road. This is an important safety component and ensures enforceability of the law. ■ The language should clearly state driver behaviors that are in violation of the law. The driver should not: – Hold or support an electronic device with any part of his/her body. – Use the electronic device to manually dial numbers or input text or to engage in multiple swipes or taps. This includes when the device is used hands-free (mounted, affixed, or resting somewhere in the vehicle). – Use an electronic device to stream, record, or broadcast video. This includes when the device is used hands-free (mounted, affixed, or resting somewhere in the vehicle). – Use the electronic device or applications on the device that display motion on the device’s screen, with the exception of GPS or navigational software. This includes when the device is used hands-free (mounted, affixed, or resting somewhere in the vehicle). ■ Penalties and fines should be clearly defined: – Fines should be in line with other traffic safety laws, in order to increase public support. Incremental fines should be in place for subsequent violations. – Penalties for distracted driving should also be in line with other serious traffic offenses. There is some belief that points against a driver’s license that have the potential to result in temporary suspension or loss of a license are more impactful than monetary fines at modifying the behavior. Additionally, points on a license are often associated with increased insurance rates, making the penalty more punitive. ■ The law should have few exemptions. Possible exemptions include: – Law enforcement and first responders in the line of duty. – Reporting an emergency. – Use of GPS or navigational system hands-free, with no allowance for manual entry while driving. ■ Additional provisions or restrictions may include: – More stringent restrictions for drivers under 18 years of age. – More punitive measures for drivers causing serious injury or death while using an electronic device. – Separate legislation or additional provisions for other types of distractions such as eating, grooming, reading, etc.9. Lee, J. D., Young, K. L., & Regan, M. A. (2008). Defining driver distraction. Driver Distraction: Theory, Effects, and Mitigation, 13(4), 31-40.

H-4 Using Electronic Devices While Driving: Legislation and Enforcement Implications Promote Legislation to Reduce Distracted Driving Distracted driving is a major public health and safety concern. An estimated 2,841 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2018.1 Distracted driving is underreported and is likely a contributing cause in far more fatal crashes. Dialing, texting, and browsing the internet on electronic devices are some of the most common distractions while driving. Studies show that engaging in these behaviors while driving is extremely risky. It takes about five seconds, on average, to read or send a text. In that time span, when a driver’s eyes are on a device and not on the road, a vehicle traveling at 55 miles per hour can travel the length of a football field.2 Why We Need a Stronger Law Constituents want a stronger law A survey of over 700 drivers 63% said they were more afraid of distracted drivers than drunk drivers.3 A majority of drivers support laws restricting distracted driving, with almost 75% supporting a law against holding and talking on a cellphone and 88% supporting a law against reading, typing, or sending a text or email while driving.4 Stronger laws may increase funding for traffic safety initiatives Section 405 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, the National Priority Safety Program, provides funding to address selected national priorities for reducing highway deaths and injuries. Specifically, 8.5% of 405 funds (called 405E) are earmarked for distracted driving grants. To have access to the funds, states must enact and enforce a prohibition on texting as well as a ban on the use of all electronic devices for all drivers aged 18 and younger, plus meet additional requirements. Eligible states can use 50% of the 405E funds for Section 402 purposes, which include a broader range of traffic safety initiatives, such as drug- and alcohol-impaired driving. The FAST Act also allows states with distracted driving data conforming to the most recent Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria (MMUCC) to use 75% of the funds for Section 402 purposes.8 1. National Center for Statistics and Analysis. (2019, October). 2018 Fatal motor vehicle crashes: Overview (Traffic Safety Facts Research Note. Report No. DOT HS 812 826). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 2. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (n.d.). Distracted driving. Available at: https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving. 3. Cambridge Mobile Telematics. (2018, February 15). Distracted driving vs. drunk driving: Fear and solutions. Available at: https://www.cmtelematics. com/blog/distracted-driving-vs-drunk-driving-fear-solutions/. 4. AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. (2019, June). 2018 Traffic Safety Culture Index. Available at: https://aaafoundation.org/2018-traffic-safety-culture- index/. 5. Ferdinand, A. O., Aftab, A., & Akinlotan, M. A. (2019). Texting-while-driving bans and motor vehicle crash–related emergency department visits in 16 US states: 2007–2014. American Journal of Public Health, 109(5), 748-754. 6. Karl, J. B., & Nyce, C. (2017). How cellphone bans affect automobile insurance markets. Journal of Risk and Insurance, 86, 567-593. doi: 10.1111/ jori.12224 7. Richard, C. M., Magee, K., Bacon-Abdelmoteleb, P., & Brown, J. L. (2018). Countermeasures that work: A highway safety countermeasure guide for State Highway Safety Offices (Report No. DOT HS 812 478). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 8. Governors Highway Safety Association. (n.d.). Section 405 National Priority Safety Program. Available at: https://www.ghsa.org/about/federal-grant- programs/405. Stronger laws can prevent injuries and save money Distracted driving laws have resulted in significant reductions in motor vehicle crash-related emergency department visits.5 Distracted driving laws banning handheld use of a cellphone reduce losses and incurred loss ratios of automobile insurers by approximately 3%.6 Increased ability to enforce the law Distracted driving laws that include clear language and cover common risky behaviors increase enforcement capability. Increased high-visibility enforcement, along with strong public awareness campaigns, reduce at-risk driving behaviors across various highway safety issues.7

Highlight Document for Legislators H-5 Key Components of a Strong Electronic Device Use Law Effective legislation should include the following key components: FOCUS 1. The law must take into account current technologies and uses, as well as make provisions for future technology. 2. The language must ensure the law is enforceable. 3. The law must attempt to stop the most dangerous behaviors associated with electronic device use; specifically, behaviors that result in diversion of attention from the driving task by taking eyes off the road for any extended period of time, even if the electronic device is hands-free or mounted.9 CONTENT ■ Using the terminology “electronic device” as opposed to “cellphone” or “mobile device,” allows for greater inclusion of devices covered by the law. ■ The law should prohibit the use of electronic devices at all times when the vehicle is traveling on public roads, including when the vehicle is at traffic signals and when it is temporarily slowed or stopped in traffic. Use of the electronic device should be permitted only when the vehicle is legally parked or pulled over on the side of the road. This is an important safety component and ensures enforceability of the law. ■ The language should clearly state driver behaviors that are in violation of the law. The driver should not: – Hold or support an electronic device with any part of his/her body. – Use the electronic device to manually dial numbers or input text or to engage in multiple swipes or taps. This includes when the device is used hands-free (mounted, affixed, or resting somewhere in the vehicle). – Use an electronic device to stream, record, or broadcast video. This includes when the device is used hands-free (mounted, affixed, or resting somewhere in the vehicle). – Use the electronic device or applications on the device that display motion on the device’s screen, with the exception of GPS or navigational software. This includes when the device is used hands-free (mounted, affixed, or resting somewhere in the vehicle). ■ Penalties and fines should be clearly defined: – Fines should be in line with other traffic safety laws, in order to increase public support. Incremental fines should be in place for subsequent violations. – Penalties for distracted driving should also be in line with other serious traffic offenses. There is some belief that points against a driver’s license that have the potential to result in temporary suspension or loss of a license are more impactful than monetary fines at modifying the behavior. Additionally, points on a license are often associated with increased insurance rates, making the penalty more punitive. ■ The law should have few exemptions. Possible exemptions include: – Law enforcement and first responders in the line of duty. – Reporting an emergency. – Use of GPS or navigational system hands-free, with no allowance for manual entry while driving. ■ Additional provisions or restrictions may include: – More stringent restrictions for drivers under 18 years of age. – More punitive measures for drivers causing serious injury or death while using an electronic device. – Separate legislation or additional provisions for other types of distractions such as eating, grooming, reading, etc.9. Lee, J. D., Young, K. L., & Regan, M. A. (2008). Defining driver distraction. Driver Distraction: Theory, Effects, and Mitigation, 13(4), 31-40.

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Distracted driving is a complex and ever-increasing risk to public safety on roadways. Drivers’ use of electronic devices significantly diverts human attention resources away from the driving task. The enforcement community faces significant challenges as electronic device use has expanded beyond simply texting or talking. Legislation regulating electronic device use while driving is inconsistent in content and implementation.

The TRB Behavioral Traffic Safety Cooperative Research Program's BTSCRP Research Report 1: Using Electronic Devices While Driving: Legislation and Enforcement Implications presents the results of an examination of the current state and provincial legislation on electronic device use while driving; evaluates the benefits and impediments associated with enacting, enforcing, and adjudicating electronic device use; and proposes model legislation and educational materials that can be used by relevant stakeholders to enact a law and educate key individuals on the importance of the law.

Supplemental the report is a presentation for law enforcement.

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