Report: Texting while Driving on Increase, Despite Ban

Dennis Faas's picture

It seems like we've seen a million studies conclude that texting from behind the wheel of an automobile is an extremely dangerous practice. Yet a new report suggests most Americans just haven't received the message.

Even more surprising is that the number of people texting while driving has actually increased since most U.S. states passed laws to ban the dangerous practice, and to levy stiff fines on perpetrators.

The new report comes from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which on Thursday (December 8th) announced that texting while driving has increased by a disappointing 50 per cent since last year.

The NTSA also said that about one in five drivers readily admit they've sent instant messages or emails by cell or smartphone while they were sitting behind the wheel.

Young Drivers are the Worst Offenders

The report is based on research conducted last year involving interviews with approximately 6,000 drivers aged 18 or older.

Of those 6,000 people involved in the survey, 18 per cent said they'd texted or emailed friends, family or colleagues while driving.

The worst offenders were those in the 21 to 24 year old age group; roughly half of all young people in this bracket said they'd texted while behind the wheel. (Source:

The findings come just a year after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published a report which found that about 1 per cent of drivers at monitored stoplights and intersections were found to be texting or using some kind of handheld device.

Experts Push for More Tickets, Higher Fines

The new report makes clear that most drivers just aren't getting the message about the dangers of texting while driving.

Experts say the remedy is to increase the number of tickets issued to people for texting while driving. They suggest it might also be a good idea to hike up the fines for such offenses.

"It is clear that educational messages alone aren't going to change their behavior," said Governors Highway Safety Association spokesman, Jonathan Adkins.

"Rather, good laws with strong enforcement are what is needed. Many drivers won't stop texting until they fear getting a ticket. The increase shows what an uphill challenge distracted driving remains." (Source:

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