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Distracted driving: Stigmatized, illegal, but still common

In New York, it is against the law for drivers to text while driving. It is also a primary offense for drivers to talk on a handheld phone. Those are relatively strict distracted driving laws in comparison to other states. A recent survey that  The Conusmer Reports National Research Center conducted, however, suggests that laws in the U.S. overall are not scaring drivers from relying on their cellphones while driving. 

Put yourself in the shoes of the 1,000 plus susbjects who were surveyed for the study. In the past 30 days, have you seen someone talking on a handheld device while driving? Have you seen someone texting and driving? If you answer yes to those questions, you are not alone, and that is a scary reality in terms of traffic safety. 

On average, more than 3,000 people are killed annually in distracted driving-related accidents in the country. Thousands others are injured, all because of the widespread addiction that people have to their cell phones and other technological devices.

Overall, drivers understand that distracted driving is dangerous and increases the chance of car accidents. Even the subjects who took part in the survey admitted to engaging in distracted driving behaviors while driving, even though the majority of them know that their habits are “very dangerous.”

Many individuals live with the dangerous misperception that nothing bad will happen to them. Somehow, they convince themselves, they are above the dangers of distracted driving. That thought process too often leads to negligent driving and the injuries, even deaths, that follow.

Source: Consumer Reports, “See a distracted driver? You’re not alone says our survey,” May 2, 2013

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