HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – A recent study shows that bans on texting and hand-held cell phone use while driving don’t reduce the risk of crashes, because many people just ignore the law.

That surprising detail came out of a hearing held by state lawmakers who are wading into the issue of distracted driving once again.

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Anne Teigan (credit: KYW's Tony Romeo)

The state House Transportation Committee held a hearing on a bill sponsored by Chester County Republican Chris Ross, whose measure would make not just cell phone use, but a whole host of distracted driving behaviors a secondary offense under Pennsylvania law.

Ross cautioned that changing the law will be ineffective unless it’s accompanied by a media campaign to change behavior.

“This bill is hook to attach the rest of the work that needs to be done.”

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Corroborating that notion was Anne Teigan of the National Conference of State Legislatures, who cited a 2010 study by the Insurance Institute showing that bans on texting and hand-held cell phones do not reduce crash risk.

“It shocked us all, you know, we were thinking that these laws were, in fact working… the amount of tickets that states were issuing, things like that.”

Teigan says the study concludes the likely reason why bans don’t work is that people simply ignore the law.

Reported by Tony Romeo, KYW Newsradio

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