Texting and Driving Up 50%!

By Mary Schwager, GalTime.com
Feds show texting/driving up 50%Feds show texting/driving up 50%

Texting while driving: Though its flat out illegal in many states, a new study by the Feds reveals the potentially deadly habit has actually increased just about 50 percent since last year! Yikes! The news comes from The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). Researchers who watched drivers at selected stoplights and intersections found that, at any given time, just under 1 percent were texting or using their smart phones to view travel directions, check e-mails or calendar appointments, or surf the Internet, manually dial, play hand-held games, or were holding phones up in front of them.

Eighteen percent of drivers told NHTSA in a survey they've sent text messages or emails while behind the wheel. Half of drivers age 21 to 24 years old age said they've texted behind the wheel.

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The survey also found that most drivers will answer a phone call while driving and most will continue to drive after answering. But the share of drivers speaking into headsets was 9 percent and the number of drivers talking into hand-held cell phones was at 5 percent.

The increase in texting while driving is alarming, said Jonathan Adkins, a spokesman for the Governors Highway Safety Association.

"It is clear that educational messages alone aren't going to change their behavior," Adkins said. "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."

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NHTSA launched a brand new website called "Distracted.Gov" warning about the dangers of not paying attention the road. A note to parents, it's a good site for you to check out with your kids, there's even a new public service announcement showing the dangers of driving distracted.

Let's face it; we're a nation addicted to our smart phones. Our calls, texts and emails all rolled into one snazzy little electronic device. I admit it, I'm with the 99% in this case, I've got four email accounts hooked up to mine, plus social networks and personal texts, it's a terrible addiction. If I lost my phone I'd have withdrawals.

Who's pledging to keep their phones away from them in 2012 while in the driver's seat?

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