Combining enforcement, media campaigns reduces distracted driving: study

July 20, 2011

Syracuse, NY – Increased police presence paired with public education campaigns may help reduce distracted driving, indicates research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

A NHTSA report (.pdf file) released in July examines two pilot programs in Syracuse, NY, and Hartford, CT, that combined police enforcement, news media coverage and paid advertising to address distracted driving. In Syracuse, both handheld cell phone use and texting declined by one-third, while Hartford saw a 57 percent drop in handheld use and an almost three-quarters decrease in texting while driving, according to a Department of Transportation press release.

The study included four periods of stepped-up enforcement during which Syracuse police issued 9,587 citations for talking or texting on cell phones while driving and Hartford police issued 9,658 tickets for illegal phone use, the release said.