Unintended Consequences

by Don Boudreaux on October 20, 2004

in Risk and Safety

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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