Distracted Driving On The Rise, Hand-held Cell Phone Use Up Among Young Drivers

By Melanie Batenchuk
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Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

According to new research from NHTSA, the percentage of drivers who are visibly text-messaging or using a hand-held device increased significantly  for a second year in a row from 0.9 percent in 2010 to 1.3 percent in 2011, while driver hand-held cell phone use stood at 5 percent in 2011. That’s a 44 percent increase.

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(Source: NHTSA Research Notes on Driver Electronic Device Use in 2011; April  2013)

Are distracted driving laws effective?

Honestly, this is a question to be asked in 10 or 20 years from now. To-date, 39 states and territories have passed bans on texting while driving. An additional ten states also prohibit all handheld cell phone use while driving. The District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands)

North Carolina bans texting and driving for all drivers. Making handheld or hands-free calls with a cell phone is also prohibited for bus drivers and novice drivers. These laws are a primary offense, which means you can be pulled over specifically for noncompliance.

If you’re a commuter to Charlotte our southern neighbor, however, you’ll want to be mindful of the change in law as you cross the state line. In South Carolina, there are currently no laws prohibiting cell phone use or text messaging.

What do you think? Do you know the distracted driving laws in your state? Are you abiding by them?

About Melanie Batenchuk:  Melanie Batenchuk is the founder and editor of Be Car Chic, a website dedicated to sharing industry news and automotive advice. She is recognized as a subject matter expert within the auto community, particularly in the areas of consumer advice and distracted driving. Melanie also heads the automotive sector practice as Vice President at Beekeeper Group, a public affairs firm in Washington, D.C.

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