Survey: Adult drivers increasingly engage in texting while driving

Every year, distracted drivers on our nation's roadways cause thousands of fatalities and injuries. In 2011 alone, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that over 3,300 deaths and 387,000 injuries could be attributed to motor vehicle accidents involving a distracted driver.

In an effort to fight back against distracted driving, lawmakers throughout the country - including those here in New York - have passed various laws that target one of the major causes of driver distraction: texting while driving. In fact, a statewide texting-while-driving ban was passed in 2009 as a way to combat New York distracted driving accidents.

Interestingly, the NHTSA reports that 38 additional states also now have laws that ban texting while driving for all motorists. Unfortunately despite these lawmakers best efforts, texting drivers continue to plague the roads - and one of the major culprits behind this deadly habit may surprise many.

According to a survey recently conducted by AT&T, it appears that adult drivers are becoming increasingly addicted to their cellphones while behind the wheel. For instance, the survey discovered that 49 percent of adult respondents admitted to texting while driving, even though 98 percent acknowledged it was a dangerous practice. Conversely, only 43 percent of teen drivers admitted to texting while driving in the survey - which is the opposite of what most would have initially thought.

In addition, roughly 60 percent of adult respondents claimed they did not text while driving just three years ago - indicating the problem may only be getting direr.

New York texting-while-driving laws

Currently, New York law prohibits any driver from using a portable electronic device - such as a cellphone, laptop or other messaging device - while they are driving a vehicle that is in motion. This means that drivers are not permitted to compose, read or transmit emails or text messages while driving. The only exceptions to this prohibition are if the driver:

  • Is communicating with police, a fire department, an ambulance company, a hospital or a doctor regarding an emergency, or
  • Is a police officer, firefighter or other emergency vehicle driver who is using the portable electronic device while performing his or her official duties

New York also restricts drivers from using their handheld cellphones to talk while driving unless they are using their phones in a "hands-free" manner. In addition, the handheld cellphone ban incorporates the same emergency exceptions as the texting-while-driving ban referenced above.

Seek help in injured

As the recently released survey illustrates, many drivers are becoming increasingly dependent on their cellphones and using them more while driving. As such, it seems apparent that distracted driving accidents will likely continue to occur. Accordingly, if you or love one has been injured by a distracted driver, if is often important to speak with an experienced distracted driving accident attorney to be advised of your rights and options.