Officials Cite Increase in Texting and Driving
Even though many states have enacted laws banning texting while driving, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that texting and driving has more than doubled over the last year. In fact, much to the surprise of insurance industry officials, the number of accident claims involving texting and driving went up in 75% of the states studied. One report concluded that there was a 50% in texting and driving from 2013 to 2014.
According to the NHTSA, sending or reading text messages while you are driving increases the likelihood of an accident 23-fold. Officials speculate that the increase in accidents subsequent to the enactment of texting bans may come from how drivers are texting, not how much they are texting. Researchers believe that many drivers, worried about being observed violating the law, are sending or receiving text messages with their phones out of view—probably in their laps. They theorize that drivers who have their phones in their laps are less attentive to the road, and more likely to be involved in a collision. According to a study by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, in 2014, more than 300,000 people reported injuries from motor vehicle accidents where at least one driver was texting while driving.
As expected, the incidence of texting and driving is far more prevalent with younger drivers. Of those under the age of 24, half indicated that they had sent or received text messages while driving. But there’s also a problem with older drivers—nearly one in five people over the age of 18 admitted to texting and driving.
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