More texting & driving in US than Europe

Published On: Mar 19 2013 05:53:52 AM EDT
Updated On: Mar 19 2013 03:24:51 PM EDT

A bill to curb texting while driving is finally building momentum in the Florida House.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

A new study showing more Americans using cell phones while driving than Europeans, has helped build momentum for a bill to curb texting while driving.

The bill would impose a $30 fine for anyone who does it and a $60 fine for doing it again within five years.
 
Many say this bill needs to pass because a new Centers for Disease Control study says one in three people admit texting or emailing behind the wheel.

That same study shows Americans use their phones while driving way more than Europeans.

The survey of drivers in the US and Europe shows a big difference in the numbers of people who admit they get distracted by texting at the wheel.

Federal government researchers reported Thursday that two thirds of people in the US admit to texting while at the wheel.

"In the last 30 days, have you texted while driving?" is the question Channel 4 asked people around town. "I'm not going to lie," one driver said. "I sure have. All the time."
 
"It's absolutely hard not to, especially when you drive most of the time," another driver admitted.

In Channel 4's own survey of people in the River City, we found some honest people who owned up to doing it and some we had to break in.

"Have you texted while driving in the last 30 days?" we asked. "Uh no," one driver started to say. Actually, take that back. Yes, I have. I have."

A new government study found Americans text at the wheel way more than our foreign counterparts.

About 69 percent of Americans 18 to 64-years-old admitted to using a cell phone while driving at least once in the past 30 days. That's compared to 21 percent of British drivers, and 40 percent in France.

Researchers said they can't put a finger on why the numbers are so different, but the law could play a role.

In the US, states have different cell phone use laws and in Europe, nearly all countries have a ban in place, something our crime analyst said we need in Florida.

"I hope they continue their efforts so that they can make it illegal for you to text and drive simply because it'll save lives," Ken Jefferson said. "The math is very simple. If you stop texting while you're driving, that means that you're not being distracted by texting and driving and paying close attention to the road. The likelihood of you getting into an automobile accident as a result of your own fault is greatly minimized"

Almost all experts agree it's distracting, even hands-free use. And many say people shouldn't use phones at all while driving.

"I don't do that at all," one driver said.

"Because it's dangerous. Like, I have children so I've got to make sure my focus is on the road at all times," another driver said. "Texting could wait."

The CDC says 33 states and the District of Columbia have laws that ban at least some teens or new drivers from using cell phones while driving.

The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended a blanket ban on the use of them in cars and has also encouraged the development of technology that would disable cell phone function within reach of a driver in a moving car.

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