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Adults a big part of problem with distracted driving

Mar. 29, 2013 @ 11:29 PM

Hopefully, you are not driving a car while you read this newspaper.

But about half of adults in a recent survey admitted to doing something just as dangerous -- texting while they drive.

America's obsession with staying "connected" continues to grow with new technology, and the impact on highway safety has been dramatic. An estimated 3,300 people were killed in distracted driving accidents in the United States during 2011, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports. That translates into an average of nine deaths and another 1,000 injuries each day.

Because young people were the first to embrace texting technology, many felt teens were the biggest part of the problem. But a survey done by AT&T and USA TODAY shows that 49 percent of adults interviewed said they sometimes text while driving, higher than the 43 percent response among teens.

Just to show how quickly things are changing, 60 percent of those adults said they never texted while driving three years ago.

Not only are the adults "old enough to know better," but they actually do know better. About 98 percent of those adults survey responded that they know that texting while driving is unsafe.

It also is increasingly illegal. Thirty-nine states now have passed bans on the practice, including West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio.

But so far, that has not reduced the amount of texting behind the wheel. In other words, there is no indication that common sense will prevail, and the best hope for safety may be new technologies that use hands-free, voice activation to send those constant messages we can't seem to live without.

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