While there are texting and cellphone bans in certain states -- like Tennessee -- one recently released study found that at least in one state, a good number of teen drivers choose to just ignore the law and talk and text anyways. Naturally this is a concern as there is a direct relationship between texting and an increased chance of getting into a car accident.
In this study, a researcher sat outside of a high school parking lot exit and made note of whether the driver was talking on a cellphone, or somehow physically using the phone, like to send a text message. This was done both prior to a cellphone ban and two years after the same ban.
After comparing the data, researchers determined that while cellphone use by teen drivers did decrease, texting actually increased by 40 percent. Additionally, due to peer review and academic publishing, the time frame of the study is somewhat dated and the research associate who led the study expects the actual percentage to be even higher.
Teens tend to be the target of these types of studies as they are more likely to engage in texting while driving. In fact, a Harris Poll found that roughly 49 percent of those under the age of 35 with a cellphone will text or read messages while behind the wheel. For baby boomers, only 11 percent reported engaging in the same risky behavior. Of those asked older than 65, only 1 percent admitted to texting while driving.
However, this is not to say texting while driving is only increasing for teenagers. For while they do make up the majority who admit to sending and reading texts, there has also been an increase in adults who are texting while behind the wheel.