Texting and driving is a crime in most states, including Illinois. The practice has been banned due to the sharp increase in the chances of a car accident coming from a driver who is distracted by his or her cell phone. The behavior is often attributed to young people for whom cell phones have become an integral part of life. A recent study shows that, while teens certainly text and drive with alarming frequency, adults are actually greater offenders of texting behind the wheel. Teens may simply be mirroring the behavior of their parent's generation.
A large part of the challenge of making the roads safe from the dangers of texting and driving is the attitudes of many Americans toward the practice. The study was conducted by AT&T and involved gathering survey responses from hundreds of teen and adult drivers. The survey showed that 98 percent of adult drivers are aware that texting and driving is a dangerous practice. Despite knowing that the behavior is unsafe, nearly 50 percent of them acknowledge texting and driving. Among teens, 43 percent admitted to texting and driving. Despite success in spreading the word about the dangerous nature of texting behind the wheel, laws and safety campaigns have not yet been successful at actually preventing people from engaging in this form of distracted driving.
Anything that takes a driver's attention off the road for more than 2 seconds drastically increases the chances of a serious car accident. According to a study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, sending or receiving a text involves an average distraction time of 4.6 seconds. Texting and driving is now illegal in 39 states and the District of Columbia. Despite these facts, 31 percent of all drivers text while driving, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Whether the answer is public condemnation, more public service campaigns or stricter enforcement, it is clear that more needs to be done to stop people from texting while operating a vehicle.
Source: Yahoo News, "Adults text more than teens while driving," by Eric Pfeiffer, 28 March 2013