Texting While Driving: Biggest Offenders Aren't Teens, But Their Parents

According to a recent poll, nearly half of the commuters we're sharing the road with every day, 49 percent, admit to texting while driving. And 43 percent of those who did say it's a habit.

These are adults we're talking about. Presumably many are parents and although much of the attention has been on their kids, slightly fewer of them, 43 percent, report texting behind the wheel.

That would echo some of the stories heard last week as a traffic safety advocate informally polled high school students during appearances here in Nevada.

Joel Feldman said he heard some scary stories.

"Dads are driving with their knees on the steering wheel because they're texting. Moms are putting their makeup on and saying to a 14 year old "Hey honey, hold the steering wheel while they're driving. It can't be."

None of this comes as a surprise to Nevada Highway Patrol spokesman Chuck Allen who says he sees it all the time, especially when he's off duty and incognito.

" It's rampant out there," People are constantly looking at their phones. They're either texting, they're reading an email. They're looking up a phone number. A number of things as well as the obvious where somebody has a phone stuck to their ear."

And despite all the recent public attention, this problem is not getting any better. Three years ago, only four in ten commuters said they had texted while behind the wheel.

In the face of all the public attention and legislative action, the habit continues and the danger grows.

"It's unfortunate," says Allen. "Some people are fearful of a citation I suspect, but the bigger problem is somebody getting into a crash, getting injured, ruining their vehicle, waiting for it to be repaired, filing an insurance claim and all the time that is taken into consideration when you can just limit those distractions and focus on your driving."

This survey is being released just ahead of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. There's a big push to recruit the business community in the effort to cut down on the problem.

The Highway Patrol is also planning a public awareness campaign and increased enforcement.


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