Distracted driving remains high, especially in the Northeast

This article looks at how drivers continue to text and drive despite laws against the practice in most states.

Despite aggressive public safety campaigns and tough texting and driving laws, distracted driving remains widespread. As Ars Technica recently reported, an overview of scientific studies on the problem of distracted driving shows that even though drivers are aware that distracted driving is both dangerous and illegal, most drivers are not changing their behavior for the better. The data shows that car accidents due to distracted driving continue to climb. Furthermore, drivers in the Northeast rank as being the most distracted drivers in the country.

Distracted driving bans vary

Distracted driving laws vary widely across the country. While almost every state now has a ban on texting and driving for all motorists (the only ones that don't are Missouri, Montana, and New Mexico), but how those bans are enforced are widely inconsistent.

For example, Delaware issues more texting and driving tickets than any other state in the country at 13,061, whereas neighboring Pennsylvania, with a population many times larger than Delaware's, has issued just 80 texting and driving tickets.

New York actually issues the second-most such tickets in the country (11,996), but six states that ostensibly ban texting and driving have yet to issue a single citation for the offense (Alaska, Louisiana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Wyoming).

Is distracted driving decreasing?

With most of the country now covered by texting and driving bans, one would expect distracted driving to decrease, especially in states that vigorously enforce such bans. Unfortunately, the opposite seems to be true. Currently, about 14 percent of accidents are due to distracted driving, with young drivers the most frequent offenders.

New York drivers tend to be especially guilty of looking at their phones while driving. Despite police in the state issuing the second-most texting and driving tickets in the country, New Yorkers text more frequently while driving than anyone else in the country.

Drivers are fully aware of the risks. As WIVB News reports, a recent AAA study found that 88 percent of drivers believe that distracted driving is more dangerous than aggressive driving. Despite widespread awareness of the risk, 49 percent of drivers also said they had recently talked on their cellphones while behind the wheel, which was actually up from 46 percent of drivers who had done so in 2013.

Help for accident victims

With so many distracted drivers on the roads, it is no surprise that motor vehicle accidents keep rising. Anybody who has been hurt in a crash, especially if the accident may have been the result of a negligent or reckless driver, should contact a personal injury attorney immediately. An attorney can assist clients with the aftermath of their ordeal, including representing them during any legal claims they may be able to pursue.