I’ve written several times about the state-wide ban on texting while driving that was passed this year by the Texas Legislature, but vetoed by Governor Rick Perry. Governor Perry apparently believed this law to be too great an intrusion into our private lives by the government. Personally, I wish the government would intrude into the lives of the drivers around me, and keep them from texting and drifting into my lane.
Among many recent stories regarding the dangers of texting and driving is one last week from the Associated Press. Here are excerpts:
For all the criticism and new legal bans, texting by drivers just keeps increasing, especially among younger motorists.
About half of American drivers between 21 and 24 say they’ve thumbed messages or emailed from the driver’s seat. And what’s more, many drivers don’t think it’s dangerous when they do it — only when others do.
A national survey, the first government study of its kind on distracted driving, and other data released Thursday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration underscore the difficulty authorities face in discouraging texting and cellphone talking while driving.
At any given moment last year on America’s streets and highways, nearly one in every 100 car drivers was texting, emailing, surfing the Web or otherwise using a hand-held electronic device, the safety administration said. And those activities spiked 50 percent over the previous year, even as states rush to ban the practices.
Last month, Pennsylvania became the 35th state to forbid texting while driving.
In 2010 there were an estimated 3,092 deaths in crashes affected by a wide range of driver distractions, from eating meals to thumbing email, the safety administration said. That number was derived using a new methodology aimed at getting a more precise picture of distracted driving deaths and can’t be compared to tallies from previous years, officials said.
The increase in texting while driving came even though many states have banned the practice, and that’s alarming, said Jonathan Adkins, a spokesman for the Governors Highway Safety Association.
“It is clear that educational messages alone aren’t going to change their behavior,” Adkins said. “Rather, good laws with strong enforcement are what is needed. Many drivers won’t stop texting until they fear getting a ticket.”