Strong majority believe hands-free law is ineffective - 323 participants

Aug 06, 2016

According to data released by the New Hampshire Department of Safety Division of Motor Vehicles on August 1, fatalities from car crashes are up 52 percent this year from last year, from 48 fatalities to 73. The numbers led some to question the effectiveness of the state’s “hands-free” driving law, which was implemented in July 2015. Read more about this issue. On August 6, the LFDA decided to put the issue to its Facebook members, posting the question, “Is NH's hands-free law effective?”

“Is NH's hands-free law effective?”

Results: Yes or No Respondents

Hands Free Law Effectiveness | Citizen Voices

Participation: 323 participants gave 677 responses

A total of 76% of those participating gave a 'yes or no' response to the question. The remaining 24% of participants—a larger than usual percentage—engaged in the discussion but did not give a yes or no response. In total, the LFDA received 677 responses from 323 individuals. (Click here for details on our methodology.)

What Participants Said:

No: A majority of ‘yes or no’ respondents, at 97%, do not believe NH’s hands-free law is effective.

  • “Useless law. There was already a distracted driving law. If you can’t stop people from driving distracted on their phones, what makes you think they will follow the hands free law?”
  • “No, it makes people less safe because people are trying to hide their phones… not to be caught.”
  • “I see bunches of folks every day either talking on the cell or texting.”

Yes: A minority, at 3% of ‘yes or no’ respondents, believe that NH’s hands-free law is effective.

  • “According to the [data], just one of the fatalities this year was from distracted driving—that tells me that the law is working.”
  • “I've stopped myself from looking at my phone a handful of times while I was driving, so I guess probably it's changed [my] behavior a little.”
  • “Yes, I think it’s starting to get noticed, but needs more enforcement.”

Other: As noted above, 24% of those participating did not give a yes or no response, instead addressing their comments to related questions and issues. These included:

  • Speculating on the true intent behind the law: “It's just another way for the state to scam money out of people.”
  • Questioning the need for hands-free legislation: “More awareness… is all that is needed. Police just need to focus on the real crimes.”
  • Broadening the discussion: “Slow down and move over is common sense and courtesy.”

*Editor selection of actual participant quotes. 

Click here to read the full Facebook discussion of this question. 

Know someone who would be interested in these results? Forward them the summary version of this report. 

Is NH's hands-free law effective? Leave a comment and have your say! 

Comments

Christopher Mazerall
- Jaffrey

Wed, 09/28/2016 - 2:49pm

I am strongly against the "Hands Free" law. I believe that it is elitist, as many of the people in my district, including myself, do not have late model vehicles that accept Blue Tooth. Also, I believe the legislation is a solution in search of a problem; the act of speaking while driving is no more or less distracting whether or not the cell phone is connected via blue tooth or directly held to one's ear.

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