Over the past few years, it has become clear that texting and driving can be a deadly combination. It has been estimated that as many as 16,000 people died in car accidents between 2001 and 2007 because of such reckless behavior. A percentage of these accidents occurred in Pennsylvania.
This alarming data, however, does not seem to have penetrated the consciousness of many motorists. For many drivers, particularly teens, texting while driving seems to be the norm. This is true despite the fact that many states have passed laws restricting text messaging by motorists or banning it outright.
In fact, texting bans don’t appear to be doing much at all to prevent the phenomenon. A recent study shows that roughly 12 percent of drivers in states with bans on texting while driving report doing so anyway. In states without the laws, the number is only slightly higher at 14 percent.
Moreover, a survey of 348 college students found that most drivers were aware that there was a danger associated with texting while driving. Even so, some 70 percent admitted to initiating text message exchanges while driving.
It appears that almost no one can resist the temptation to at least take a peak and read a text message sent to them, as 92 percent of the students said they had done on occasion. A full 81 percent said that they had replied to text messages sent by others while they were behind the wheel.
Some say that increased social and moral pressure is needed to help make texting and driving unacceptable behavior, as much has happened with intoxicated driving through campaigns led by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Hopefully, a similar organization will be able to educate the public on the dangers of texting while driving.
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, “Texting while driving is illegal and unsafe. Why is it the norm?” Jonathan Purtle, July 19, 2012