Research has proven that compulsory bans on handheld phone use can have dramatic effects on the amount of time drivers spend on the phone. In November of 2001, New York instituted a universal ban on handheld cell phone usage while driving. Observations of such behavior decreased by approximately 50% in the weeks following the ban. After a period usage steadily increased, yet still managed to be 24% lower in 2008 than the period before the law was passed.
The success of the law in New York led to a similar ban being implemented in the District of Columbia in 2004. The ban resulted in a precipitous 40% drop of handheld phone use, and unlike in New York, maintained a usage rate that was 43% lower than previously projected. Connecticut installed its own comprehensive ban in 2005, resulting in a resounding 75% drop in the days following implementation. More than three years later, state usage is 65% lower than previous estimates.
In the telephone survey previously mentioned, drivers in states that instituted universal bans were less likely to indicate they used cell phones while driving. 44% of drivers under such jurisdiction denied using cell phones, as opposed to 30% in states without a ban. Similarly, 22% of drivers living in states with bans utilized hands-free cell phones, compared to just 13% in those without legal restrictions.