There is no question that texting while driving is a dangerous activity. In an effort to reduce the number of distracted drivers on Nashville and other Tennessee roads, the legislature banned texting while driving in 2009. There have also been numerous studies that show just how dangerous distracted driving is, including studies that report dialing a cellphone, which is very similar to texting, will increase the likelihood of an accident by 280 percent.
Despite horrifying statistics and scientific studies on the problems distracted driving causes, 82 percent of drivers under the age of 25 self-reported reading text messages while driving. Simply reading a text message while driving makes a driver 23 times more likely to cause a motor vehicle accident than a driver who responsibly keeps his or her eyes on the road, according to a recent report.
This survey was conducted in Tennessee and across the country, asking young adult drivers, who are classified as drivers aged 16 to 24 years old, about their driving habits. One of the other shocking pieces of information collected by the survey was that 75 percent of young drivers have written a text message while driving at least once; 49 percent have repeatedly sent text messages while driving. Of the participating teens, approximately 50 percent have been passengers in a car in which the driver was texting and driving.
The survey was done by the Ad Council and the information gleaned from it has been used to create a public service advertising campaign. While the campaign will be nationwide, the Tennessee attorney general has joined with the Ad Council in brining the campaign to Nashville and Tennessee teenage drivers.