Study Finds Drivers Under Age 30 Still Texting While Driving
A sobering study conducted by Consumer Reports came out with data regarding mobile device use for drivers under the age of 30. Of those surveyed, they found:
- Sixty-three percent used a handheld cell phone while driving in the past 30 days
- Thirty percent texted while driving in the past 30 days
- Only 36 percent were very concerned with distracted driving, and even fewer (30 percent) thought using a cell phone while driving was very dangerous
- Fifty-eight percent saw a dangerous situation because of distracted driving in the last 30 days
Consumer Reports released this data just as it is beginning a joint public services campaign with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The campaign aims to bring awareness of the dangers of distracted driving to young people.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, distracted driving injured almost half a million people in 2009, and killed nearly 5,500. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that dialing a phone makes it six times more likely to get into an accident, while texting while driving multiplies the chance of an accident by 23.
Car accidents are currently the leading cause of teenage deaths in the U.S., with one in three teen deaths occurring on the road. According to the Centers for Disease Control, drivers aged 15-24 account for $26 billion in vehicle injuries, almost 30 percent of overall costs from car injuries in the U.S. Only about 14 percent of drivers are aged 15-24.
Creating and Enforcing Texting While Driving Bans
Currently 30 states ban texting while driving. In some states, such as North Carolina, the law is primary. This means that a driver texting can be pulled over for that reason alone. In some states, however, the law is secondary, meaning the driver must be doing something else illegal before being pulled over.
In either case, the law is difficult to enforce. For example, law enforcement officers in North Carolina issued only 71 tickets to drivers for texting in 2009. The joint campaign by the U.S. DOT and Consumer Reports hopes to educate young drivers rather than relying on enforcement. If their recent survey is any indication, the campaign comes at a good time.
Contact a personal injury attorney in your area if a distracted driver has injured you, as you may be able to receive compensation for medical bills and other costs.