Europe

Swedish study finds laws banning texting, talking on phones while driving are ineffective

There is no reason to ban texting or talking on cell phones while driving, a Swedish study found.

A report by the Swedish National Road and Transport Institute (VTI) -- based in Linkoping, southern Sweden -- found that educating drivers on the safer use of the devices was preferable to a total ban.

"It is our opinion that a combination of different countermeasures -- which educate and inform the driver, while at the same time support him or her in a safe usage of communication devices -- is preferable to a law against communication device usage while driving," it said.

Katja Kircher, of VTI, told Sveriges Radio, "We've seen that it doesn't help to have such a law while driving. This is partly because we've seen that people wouldn't adhere to the law and partly because we've seen no effect on crash risks."

In October last year, a VTI study found that there was no long-term traffic safety impact for countries that allowed cell phone use with hands-free equipment.

Sweden is one of a handful of European countries to allow the use of cell phones while driving without hands-free devices. Others include Albania, Serbia, Moldova and Malta.