Americans still texting while driving despite bans

Wed May 20, 2009 6:05am EDT
 
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters Life!) - A quarter of American cell phone users admit to texting while driving, despite bans in seven U.S. states and several serious accidents recently, according to a report on cell phone use released on Wednesday.

The report also found that some of the worst driving-while-texting, or DWT, offenders live in states where the practice is already banned or where legislation is pending.

Drivers in Tennessee were the most prolific texters, with 42 percent of those questioned admitting to the habit. A ban on using a cell phone to text while driving goes into effect in Tennessee in July.

Yet 83 percent of the 5,000 people surveyed across the United States said they thought DWT should be illegal. The survey was carried out on behalf of mobile voice technology company Vlingo.

Text messaging has been blamed for a number of recent high profile accidents, including a train crash in the Los Angeles area last September in which 25 people were killed, and a Boston trolley crash this month in which almost 50 people were injured.

In both cases, the drivers were found to have been sending and receiving text messages seconds before the crashes.

"Texting is such an integral component of our daily lives, and the cautionary tales about DWT danger have not stemmed the tide," said Dave Grannan, CEO of Vlingo.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant, editing by Miral Fahmy)

 
<p>A man uses a cell phone while driving in Burbank, California June 25, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>