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June 19, 2013

Dangers of Distracted Driving

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Jody W. Zylke, MD, Senior Editor.

Author Affiliation: Transportation Initiatives, National Safety Council, Itasca, Illinois (david.teater@nsc.org).

JAMA. 2013;309(23):2436-2437. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.6008

To the Editor: The Viewpoint on distracted driving by Drs Coben and Zhu1 missed the mark on the issues of potential effectiveness of legislation and benefits of hands-free phone interfaces. Coben and Zhu stated that “legislation that cannot be stringently enforced by law enforcement personnel is unlikely to be a deterrent.” Years of experience with traffic safety legislation has demonstrated that when people are allowed by law to engage in reckless behavior, many will. However, when a law is passed to stop unsafe behavior, many will stop, even without effective enforcement.