NHTSA Study: Texting While Driving Increases By 50%

A federal study conducted by the National Highway Transportation Safety Association has found that text messaging while driving has jumped by 50% over the last year. That increase comes despite federal and state campaigns to bring awareness to the dangers of text messaging while driving.

To conduct their study officials stood on intersections and discovered that nearly 1% of drivers were text messaging while stopped, up from .06% in 2009.

The organization also performed a phone survey in which they discovered 18% of drivers say they text message while driving. When interviewing drivers from the ages of 21-to-24-years-old that number increased to nearly 50%.

A representative for the Governors’ Highway Safety Association says that it has become clear that texting won’t be stopped by:

“It is clear that educational messages alone.”

The agency hopes that their findings will lead to stronger laws that enforce putting the phone down while driving. The agency says:

“Many drivers won’t stop texting until they fear getting a ticket.”

One such law can be witnessed in Pennsylvania where texting while driving was banned in November after 32,885 deaths were witnessed in 2010, a drop of nearly 3% from the year prior.

In my state of Illinois texting or talking on a cell phone in a school zone comes with a first time fine that increases with each offense and more than 35 other states now have texting and cell phone use laws enacted and more states continue to add and change their texting and calling laws on a regular basis.

Do you think more severe texting while driving laws need to be enacted to end the dangerous practice?

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