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Unintended Consequences

My student Carol Shin pointed out an unintended negative consequence of statutes that make illegal the act of driving while simultaneously holding a cell-phone to your ear. (Washington, DC, recently enacted such a prohibition.)

Carol reports that, since DC’s prohibition went into effect this past summer, she and her friends — when driving in DC — in fact spend less time chatting with each other by cell phone, but spend more time text-messaging each other. Because text-messaging draws each messager’s eyes from the road (and on to the touch pad of the cell-phone) more than does talking on the phone, it is surely more dangerous to text-message while driving than to talk on the phone.


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