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Study Despite Bans Texting While Driving Soars

Government efforts to rid the roads of it have been a futile effort. Drivers, primarily young ones, in Philadelphia and the rest of the country continue the dangerous habit of texting while driving, according to a survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Roughly half of the drivers in the United States admit to composing and sending text messages or emails while driving, the survey found. Many of them concede that it is a dangerous practice, but only when others do it. Reportedly, these same drivers do not think it poses any higher risk of an accident when they are the ones texting behind the wheel.

The study estimates that last year, one out of every 100 drivers on the road were engaging in some sort of activity on their phones. And even though many states, including Pennsylvania, have passed legislation to put this practice to a halt, the number of drivers doing it has increased by 50 percent over the last year.

Texting while driving is one of the main causes of distracted driving, which has contributed to 3,092 fatal crashes in 2010, according to the NHTSA. Even so, it appears that drivers are trying to find the happy medium between tending to their phones and driving.

Many feel that it’s safe to make or receive a cellphone call while driving. Others feel confident texting or emailing behind the wheel. But this picture changes drastically when those drivers are passengers. As passengers, 90 percent of people say they feel unsafe when the driver is texting or emailing.

Most motorists actually support stiff punishment for those that violate bans on handheld cellphones and texting behind the wheel. But, what law enforcement is finding is that these drivers do not feel the laws apply to them. Some experts say this will finally stop when police start enforcing the new laws more strictly.

What do you think? What will it take to get people to stop using their cellphones while driving?

Source: WFMJ.com, “More drivers texting at wheel, despite state bans,” Joan Lowy, Dec. 8, 2011