Most of us have seen drivers at the wheel, busy with a gadget like a Blackberry or a cell phone, busily typing an email or a text message while they should be concentrating on the road.  Of course, you would never do that, would you? 

A recently released study has revealed that nationwide, an average 28% of survey respondents have admitted to DWT (Driving While Texting).  Nationally the statistic for teenage drivers – some of the worst drivers on our nation’s roads – is even more disturbing, with over 50% admitting to texting while behind the wheel.  Given that 85% of all surveyed teenagers use text messaging on a regular basis to communicate with their friends and family, it seems inevitable that teens will feel the need to keep in touch through texting even if it jeopardizes their safety and that of other motorists.

 Top 5 States for Text Offense

Five states topped the survey list of “worst offenders”.  These states had the most drivers who admitted to sending text messages while driving, a practice that is perfectly legal in many states.  South Carolina topped the list with a whopping 40% of residents admitting to texting while driving.  If you’re wondering where Virginia falls on the list of 50 states, don’t pat yourself on the back because we’re not on the top 5 list.  Virginia came in at number 6. 

  1. South Carolina
  2. Tennessee
  3. Georgia
  4. Maryland
  5. Louisiana

Top 5 Best Behaved Texting States

At the other end of the list, these states ranked as the best states for well-behaved drivers.  Surprisingly, Arizona – whose drivers rank poorly for other safety habits like seat belt use and motorcycle helmet use – came in with the lowest percentage of survey respondents for drivers who text and drive. 

  1. Arizona
  2. Maine
  3. Vermont
  4. New Hampshire
  5. Delaware

 Why Driving While Texting Matters in Virginia

Clearly, there are plenty of motorists on the road today who think that driving while texting is no big deal.  But if this is the case, why have so many states – including Virginia – considered or already enacted a ban on DWT?

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute participated in a government study in 2006 which found that 80% of all crashes involved distracted drivers.  The year the study was done, cell phone use was cited as the biggest distraction.  In addition, younger drivers – the ones who are especially likely to let their fingers do the talking when they’re behind the wheel – are involved in four times as many crashes as any other age group.

Virginia drivers take note:  this year Virginia legislators cracked down on the use of cell phones by teen drivers, and similar restrictions on texting while driving were sent for further research.  It is only a matter of time before this dangerous habit becomes illegal.

Distracted drivers are dangerous drivers.  If you’ve been the victim of an auto accident caused by a negligent driver, then you deserve justice.  Please contact the law offices of Dulaney, Lauer & Thomas today and let us work with you for the compensation that you deserve.

Andrew Thomas
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Civil litigation attorney in Virginia and is AV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell.

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