A news story reveals that one in four accidents are caused by the use of cell phone while driving. Not only does texting while driving continue to be a problem among commuters, but commercial drivers are a growing hazard to the health and safety of everyone.
Drivers using cellphones fail to see up to 50% of the information in their environment, says David Teater, senior director at the NSC. And the risk of getting in crashes from texting is getting worse, he says. Texting is increasing in popularity inside and outside of the driver’s seat: One in three Americans favors texting over calling, according to a 2011 study by Pew Research Center, and Americans send an average of 41 texts a day (with those ages 19 to 25 sending an average of 110 texts a day).
The number of drivers texting or manipulating their devices increased from 0.9% in 2010 to 1.3% in 2011, while driver hand-held cellphone use remained steady at 5%, according to a survey carried out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. One possible reason: Lack of enforcement. Drunken driving carries heavy fines and jail time, says Justin McNaull, director of state relations for AAA, but cellphone violations are treated more leniently. “Drivers know in their hearts and their heads that it isn’t the best idea,” he says, “but the odds of getting a ticket remain quite low.”
Despite the low enforcement, texting while driving remains one of the top causes of accidents for teen drivers.