Despite Dangers, Drivers Continue Texting While Driving
Thirty-nine states currently ban texting while driving, but two recent surveys conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveal that drivers are increasingly disobeying these texting bans.
The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration conducted two surveys on the use if handheld devices while driving. In the first survey, the NHTSA monitored intersections and stoplights to count drivers who used cellphones and other hand-held devices with Web accessibility. It showed that the number of drivers who text has increased by half during 2010. In all, almost one percent of all drivers texted while driving in 2010. The second survey, a telephone poll, addressed 6,000 drivers over the age of 18. Its results indicated that almost one in five drivers, or 18 percent, have texted or emailed while driving. Almost 50 percent of drivers, age 21 to 24, text or email while driving. Additionally, drivers admitted to answering their cellphones and talking without pulling over.
Enforcement Could Solve Texting While Driving Problem
Jonathan Adkins, spokesperson for the Governors Highway Safety Association, reports that “good laws with strong enforcement” could prevent texting and driving. He cites a pilot program conducted by the NHTSA in Syracuse, NY and Hartford, CT. The program studied whether public education and ticket enforcement would reduce distracted driving. Researchers monitored cellphone use before and after enforcement waves and found significant drops in cellphone usage. In Syracuse, the decline was one-third. Researchers saw a texting decline of almost 75 percent in Hartford.
Distracted Driving Steals Lives
Bans on texting while driving attempt to save lives, and the Washington Times reports that traffic accidents are on the decline since the 1940s. However, texting joins other visual, manual and cognitive distractions in affecting drivers every day. In 2010, distracted driving caused 3,000 deaths. As reported by the Bloomberg News and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that death statistic included seven 16 to 19 year olds who died every day due to distracted driving. Everyone on the road must still be aware that drivers continue to text despite the dangers.
Protecting Young Drivers in Ohio
Ohio recently became the 39th state to ban texting and driving. The law affects all drivers, and law enforcement agents can now issue citations and fines to Ohio teens and adults who text while driving. Under the law, adults can still talk, but 16 and 17 year old teens face a $150 fine and could have their license suspended for 60 days if they are pulled over while texting or talking on their phone. With this law in place and enforced, the roads may be safer for everyone on the road.