Despite various state law bans and nationwide awareness campaigns to prevent texting from behind the wheel, the amount of people texting while driving is actually on the rise, a new study suggests.
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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the percentage of drivers who sent texts and use mobile devices while on the road has jumped from 0.6% in 2009 to 0.9% to 2010.
The news comes as automakers and legislators try to bring more awareness to the dangers of distracted driving. In fact, the National Transportation Safety Board is working to make cellphone use from talking hands-free with a headset to texting illegal in all 50 U.S. states. Although each state can make its own laws on the issue, the recommendation from NTSB is expected to hold a lot of weight.
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The latest findings from the NHTSA study indicate that 3,000 people were killed in car accidents in 2010 due to distracted drivers. Although the study classified distractions as talking and changing the radio to using a mobile device, it noted that reading or writing texts increases the chances of an accident by 2,300%.
The NHTSA also said that drivers who use mobile devices in any capacity are four times more likely to have an accident and injure themselves or others. Car accidents are the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S., and 16% of young drivers involved in fatal accidents were driving distracted.
"Using a cell phone while driving is the equivalent of having a blood alcohol concentration level of .08%, the legal limit in most states," the NHTSA said in a statement. "Using a cell phone can reduce the brain activity associated with driving by 37%."
In July, a study from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) highlighted the impact that cellphones and other gadgets can have on car crashes and found that as many as 25% of U.S. car crashes are associated with drivers distracted by tech devices.
Should using technology from behind the wheel be banned in all states? Is there a safe way to use tech on the road? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
This story originally published on Mashable here.
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