Don’t text and drive is the new vogue restriction throughout the nation, one that just oozes with common sense and would surely make streets safer – or not.

Text bans while driving caused an increase in crashes/Thinkstock

Crashes actually increased in at least three states after those states put texting bans into place, according to a study conducted by the Highway Loss Data Institute.

The study examined collision insurance claims in Louisiana, Washington, Minnesota and California before and after texting while driving bans went into effect.

The only state of the four that did not see an overall increase in crashes was Minnesota.

Thirty states have texting while driving bans in place. Arizona is not one of them, although Phoenix has restrictions.

Theory has it that even with the ban people continue to text and drive, but quickly hide their phones under the dashboard or their laps when they spot law enforcement patrolling the streets. Of course, their eyes follow their phones under the dashboard or into their laps and there goes the nearest lamppost.

Still, 92 percent of people polled by AAA said texting while driving is unacceptable –  yet 24 percent of folks in that same poll admitted to doing it within the last month.

Go figure.

A few other bans have been equally ineffective, backfiring in major ways and making matters worse – not better.

Take prohibition. This ban on the manufacturing, selling and distribution of alcohol was meant to decrease problems that come with being perpetually drunk, like unemployment, vomiting in public and beating up on children, wives and whoever was standing nearby.

Instead it gave rise to new, even bloodier crimes due to illegal smuggling of alcohol and fun fellows like Al Capone. Capone and pals killed to conquer the bootlegging market.

The smoking ban that’s puffing its way across the nation has also had its detrimental side effects – and not because a bunch of bowling alleys suddenly went bankrupt.

It’s because more people started driving drunk. A study at the University of Wisconsin showed drinkers who smoke were willing to drive far and wide to find a bar that allows smoking, even if it were in the next city, jurisdiction or state.

This means, of course, these smoker-drinkers have to drive equally far and wide to get home after they’ve had a few and are a bit tipsy.

Sexual predator restrictions have also backfired in some areas. Many cities have bans on registered sex offenders living within a certain amount of distance from schools, parks and anywhere else kids congregate.

Problem is, kids congregate in a heck of a lot of places.

This left many registered sex offenders few or no legal options for housing, prompting many to simply move to the next town. Once that town, too, put restrictions in place, the molesters moved on again. Once they ran out of towns, many ended up homeless, dwelling in grungy lairs beneath a highway overpass.

Hopefully there’s not a lot of folks texting while driving around those overpasses.


Ryn Gargulinski is a poet, artist, performer and Ryngmaster who finds both texting and driving tedious and therefore would never combine the two. Her column appears every Friday on Rynski’s Blogski. Her art, writing and more is at and E-mail

What do you think?

Do you text and drive?

Would you still text while driving even if it were banned?

What bans do you find effective? Ridiculous?

Do you know of other bans that have backfired?