But we meant to save lives!

Over at the always insightful CafÃ? Hayek, Don Boudreaux points out some negative unintended consequences of D.C.’s recent ban on driving while holding a cell phone: [My student Carol Shin] reports that, since DC’s prohibition went into effect this past summer, she and her friends — when driving in DC — in fact spend less time chatting with each other by cell phone, but spend more time text-messaging each other. Because text-messaging draws each messager’s eyes from the road (and on to the touch pad of the cell-phone) more than does talking on the phone, it is surely more dangerous to text-message while driving than to talk on the phone. Reminds me of an AEI-Brookings study which noted other unintended consequences: If drivers cannot call ahead and say they will be late, they may speed. If drivers cannot call for directions, they may choose to read a map while driving. If they cannot save time by calling and driving, they may save time by eating and driving. Kind of makes you wonder what other unintended consequences might be lurking behind all these recently enacted bans.