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National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says driving while texting increased 50 percent last year. States are rushing to ban the use of cellphone texting behind the wheel, but said in a study 2 out of 10 admit to texting while driving.

AP Photo/Pat Wellenbach

Snapshots are taken when drivers approach stoplights and intersections to count how many are using cellphones. One percent were found to be using cellphones at any given time. ”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.”

According to NHTSA researchers, an estimated 3,092 deaths in crashes were affected by distractions in 2010, though can’t be compared to tallies from previous years, NHTSA officials said. In all 32,885 people died in traffic crashes in the United States in 2010 which is a 3 percent drop since 1949.

“Even as we celebrate the incredible gains we’re making in reducing traffic fatalities, we recognize our responsibility to improve our understanding of the dangers that continue to threaten drivers and passengers,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. “That’s why, under the leadership of Secretary LaHood, NHTSA is working to refine the way we collect data on distracted driving and laying the groundwork for additional research to capture real-world information on this risky behavior.”

The report also said that while most drivers reported that they were willing to answer phone calls, many still send a text while driving. Most all of these same drivers reported they would feel as an unsafe passenger if a driver was texting and talking on the phone.


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