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25 Decisions to implement these countermeasures will need but the evidence indicates minimal decreases in use unless the to be made without direct estimates of their potential crash law is enforced (McCartt, Hellinga, and Geary, 2006). How- reduction benefits. Many will play an important role in the ever, research has indicated that the distraction is the cell development of a highway safety plan. However, final deci- phone call itself, not whether it is hands free or hands on. sions will need to be made on identified need for process States choosing to implement countermeasures in the improvements and judgment as to how these measures may Unlikely/Unknown group need to emphasize those listed be used to fill those needs. with plus (+) ratings. Whatever the choice, states will need to conduct a comprehensive evaluation and take corrective action at the first sign of trouble. Again, resources spent for 3. Avoid Countermeasures measures that do not work will limit the resources available with Unknown and for things that will work. Unlikely Effectiveness Many of the Unknown/Uncertain/Unlikely countermea- 4. Do No Harm sures are in the Voluntary Action Group. The education and information approach that characterizes these countermea- Some programs with potentially negative effects (Proven sures is popular. This group involves more than one-third of Not to Work) have become popular. For instance, programs all the countermeasures. It has, by far, the highest percentage that teach teenagers advanced driving maneuvers, typically of countermeasures of unproven effectiveness (84%). how to handle skids. The logic here is that standard driver Many voluntary action programs have long been known to education courses generally concentrate on basic driving be ineffective, but their popularity remains. Exhorting people skills. However, it is known that graduates of these courses are to take some preferred health action for their own benefit is prone to being involved in crashes that reflect driving inex- easy to do and gives the appearance of doing something perience (e.g., running off the road and not being able to important for society; sometimes these efforts are referred to recover) so it is important to teach new drivers skills that will as feel-good programs. A somewhat cynical appraisal of this help them avoid these types of crashes. That is the premise, situation was presented by Stone (1989, p. 891), who noted but research in Scandinavia and the United States has found that ". . . health education is cheap, generally uncontrover- that skid courses have a negative effect. Drivers who take these sial, and safe: if it works, the politicians take the credit, and if courses--especially young males--have more crashes than it does not, the target population takes the blame." In this untrained drivers (Jones, 1993; Glad, 1988). This is perhaps context, the following conclusions of Williams (2007a, p. 9) because of the age factor. That is, drivers who get this train- bear repeating: ing may become overconfident and drive more aggressively, showing off to their friends, etc. (see Williams and Ferguson, Never assume that a PI&E program will be successful. In fact, 2004). Despite these research findings, skid courses offered by most PI&E programs do not lead to a measurable reduction in manufacturers, police organizations, and others have prolif- crashes or injuries. . . . Never assume that a PI&E program will erated in recent years in the United States. do no harm. Some well-meaning educational programs, albeit a Another example is offering traffic violator school, in lieu very few, actually lead to more crashes and injuries. Moreover, the implementation of a program that does not work will limit of fines and points on the license. The "in lieu of" qualifier is the amount of resources available for programs that can make a important here. These schools have not been shown to pro- difference. vide a safety benefit that outweighs the benefits provided by traditional "fine and point" sanctions (Peck and Gebers, 1991; Avoidance of ineffective countermeasures is by no means McCartt and Solomon, 2004). School in addition to fines and limited to the voluntary action group, but applies to the other points is a different matter and can be effective. three groups as well. Passing laws that have limited public A third example is driver education that speeds the process acceptability or that are not readily enforceable are two ex- of young driver licensing or programs that provide a "time dis- amples. Enforceability is a key issue. Much current attention count" for their completion (i.e., earlier licensure for those in the United States has been given to distracted, fatigued, who have taken driver education). Speeding the licensure and aggressive driving. However, enacting laws against these process and therefore increasing exposure to crashes at an early behaviors, although it may be a popular approach, is likely age has, repeatedly, been shown to increase the number of to have little effect because they are difficult for police to young driver crash involvements (Vernick, Li, Ogaitis, et al., enforce. 1999; Roberts, Kwan, and Cochrane Injuries Group, 2006; Laws against hand-held cell phones constitute a separate Mayhew, 2007). Any "value added" that the completion of distracted driving issue. General cell phone laws are listed as driver education may provide does not outweigh the negative having uncertain impact. The behavior is observable by police, effects of licensing teens at a younger age.