Drivers still have not learned to conquer the temptation of the text, despite research connecting it to fatal car crashes and state laws banning the dangerous practice.
A recently-released National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study found that two in 10 drivers have sent text messages or even emails while driving, reports NPR.
The study depicts the interesting but contradictory thinking of drivers. Although the vast majority of survey respondents support laws banning texting-while-driving, many drivers still continue to text and drive, especially if they are between the ages of 21 and 24.
It likely has to do with the belief that, while other people may be unsafe, you aren't as distracted when you drive.
This perception, however, can be dangerous and even fatal. One of every 11 U.S. traffic deaths in 2010 was reportedly caused by "distraction-affected" crashes, including texting, phoning, or answering a call while driving, according to USA Today. And Bluetooth users shouldn't be so smug - the distraction can include hands-free phone use, according to NHTSA.
Again, the attitude of drivers depicted in the study is scary and contradictory. More than three-fourths of drivers said they are willing to answer calls while driving, and many say they rarely take into consideration traffic situations. However, they would ironically not feel safe if they were in a passenger of a car driven by someone who was texting or calling.
Approximately 35 states, including California, have banned texting while driving. Under California law, all drivers are prohibited from using handheld cell phones while driving. Officers may also cite a driver for using a handheld cell phone without any other traffic offense taking place.
In addition to traffic tickets and hefty fines, distracted driving can subject you to lawsuits and criminal charges if you injure someone. Drivers have previously been charged with manslaughter or murder depending on the recklessness they exhibited.
In the grand scheme of things, answering the temptation of the text is not worth the risks you are taking with your life and the lives of others. Now that more states are aware of the dangers of distracted driving and more advocates pushing for federal legislation, deciding not to use your phone while driving could possibly save your life and/or your freedom.
- Find a Los Angeles DUI Attorney (FindLaw)
- Distracted Driving and Texting while Driving (FindLaw)
- Appellate Court: Cellphone at Red Light Still Violates Hands-Free (The Los Angeles DUI Blog)