Texting While Driving Rates Continue To Rise

By Oliver VanDervoort December 09, 2011

There is little doubt that texting while driving is an unsafe practice. State legislature after state legislature have passed laws over the last few years with the intent of curbing the practice. The attempts to stomp out texting while driving are why a new study's finding are so discouraging. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Association has released a new survey that shows that texting on the road has increased 20 percent overall. Among drivers between the ages of 21 and 24, the survey shows that texting while driving has increased by a whopping 50 percent.

Part of the problem is that over the last the few years smartphones have come with so many bells and whistles that it can be hard to put them down. The other problem is that the smartphones themselves offer different apps that are supposed to help drivers that people think there is no problem using them while on the go. If you are used to searching for the nearest gas station on your phone, what's the harm in telling your significant other you'll be home five minutes late through text?

According to the NHTSA, the harm is that more than 3,100 traffic accidents every year occur due to distracted driving. The NHTSA has put together reams of documents to show that texting while driving directly leads to accidents, yet more people are doing it more frequently than ever before.

The survey relied on anonymous data from a survey conducted last year that was just recently released. That means that despite the rather high numbers in this poll, they could now be outdated and much higher. NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said that there is one thing clear from the data his agency compiled and that is that “driver distraction continues to be a major problem.” 

In all, 35 states have made texting while driving completely illegal, with Pennsylvania joining the party most recently. Some of those states will allow texting while driving to be a primary offense, meaning a police officer can pull someone over if they see a cellphone in their hand. Other states, like Nebraska have made it a secondary offense.






Edited by Jennifer Russell

Contributing Writer

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