Texting While Driving Causes Growing Concern
Though it is illegal in several states and counties, many drivers are still using hand-held cellphones to make calls on highways and city streets.
A survey was recently released by the Office of Traffic Safety, and it said that the overall percentage of drivers using their cell phones while driving has fallen over 3 percent from 2012-13. Those that do not use a hands-free device accounted for the largest percentage of that drop, 33 percent.
While actual call rates are down, a more significant problem is rising. The number of drivers texting while on the road has risen from 1.7 percent to 2.5 percent over the same time frame. That number might not seem so great, but safety officials are concerned because it is often harder to catch those who are texting while driving because they hold the phone in their laps.
OTS spokesman Chris Cochran said, “It’s discouraging to see that texting is still significantly higher than in 2011.”
During the annual monthly crackdown on cellphone use while driving, the Highway Patrol and 250 police departments across California issued 57,000 cellphone tickets. That is the same number as last year’s crackdown, but still 21,000 more than a typical month of cell phone tickets.
The survey was conducted by sending teams of observers to highway off ramps and intersections in 17 counties in California from February through April. They witnessed 6,099 drivers and endeavored to evaluate their cellphone use. The results are probably at the low end of actual drivers that text while driving, given that it is difficult to really determine if a driver is using their cellphone with the short, limited view observer.
California is leading the charge against distracted driving and they’re doing a phenomenal job, but drivers are still not quite getting how dangerous texting while driving can be and it continues to be a big hill to climb.
Source: Mercury News