Distracted driving is a well-known dangerous behavior, yet many drivers in Massachusetts still admit to texting behind the wheel. A recent survey by Plymouth Rock Assurance found that 40 percent of drivers in the state said they send text messages while driving.
The survey found that female drivers were more likely to be texting while driving, and that drivers between 17 and 44 were twice as likely to text behind the wheel compared to drivers who were 45 or older. Another scary finding of the survey was that drivers said they were likely to continue using their cellphone while driving regardless of state laws.
In addition to those findings, the most surprising one was that 96 percent of drivers said they would not text while driving if there was a young child in the vehicle, and 94 percent said they would not text while driving if there were any other passengers in the car.
Safety advocates said that drivers need to be making safe driving decisions at all times, regardless of who is in the vehicle, to reduce the risk of being in a car accident. To address the dangers of distracted driving, and specifically texting while driving, the Massachusetts State Police will be cracking down on texting while driving in the state.
Massachusetts law bans drivers from typing, sending and reading text messages on handheld cellphones while they are driving. Police said they will be starting the project, “Text With One Hand, Ticket In The Other,” to find and stop drivers from texting behind the wheel.
Distracted driving causes 3,000 fatalities every year in the U.S. and many safety groups have tried to raise awareness about the dangers of using a cellphone behind the wheel. With their new safety program, Massachusetts State Police hope that they will be able to prevent more car accidents caused by texting.
Source: Boston Magazine, “Massachusetts Police Are Cracking Down on Distracted Driving,” Steve Annear, June 4, 2013