Distracted driving, responsible for thousands of deaths annually worldwide, might not disappear unless every vehicle on the road is fully autonomous.
Simply put, it is very difficult to strictly enforce anti-texting laws or to prevent other types of distracted driving.
In the meantime, the onus is on automakers and technology companies to come up with ways to reduce distractions, even as governments in the U.S. and worldwide increasingly ban texting and handheld use, safety experts say.
Distracted driving is something of a public health crisis in the U.S. Traffic fatalities nationwide rose 7.2 percent in 2015 to 35,092. A 2016 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study found that about 10 percent of those deaths were the result of a distracted driver.
In the U.S., 46 states and the District of Columbia ban texting for all drivers. Fourteen states and the District of Columbia ban handheld device use, but none bars the use of hands-free devices. (See map, below.)
Similar laws exist worldwide, said IHS Markit automotive analyst Mark Boyadjis.
"What I have seen is when you look at the problem globally, there's no real difference between one country's solution to the problem or how much they are impacted by it," he said. "What's interesting is that the model that we see here in the U.S. is very similar to models seen elsewhere in the world."