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Half of Young Drivers are Driving While Texting
Posted: 12-Aug-2008 [Source: FindLaw.com]

[FindLaw reports nearly half of the drivers between ages 18 and 24 say they have sent a text message, instant message or e-mail while driving.]

Eagan, MN -- Have you ever been driving next to a car whose driver swerves in and out of their lane? Upon closer inspection, you notice the other driver has one hand on the wheel, while the other hand madly types a text message. You are not alone.

Nearly half of the drivers between ages 18 and 24 say they have sent a text message, instant message or e-mail while driving, according to a new survey by FindLaw.com (http://www.findlaw.com), the most popular legal information Web site. The survey found that 48 percent of drivers between the ages of 18 and 24, and more than a quarter (27 percent) of drivers 25 to 34, admit to texting while behind the wheel. Seventeen percent of all adults surveyed say they have texted while driving.

Not surprisingly, the incidence of "Driving While Texting" is largely a function of age. While younger, more techno-savvy drivers are more likely to be avid texters even while driving, less than two percent of those age 55 and over say they have ever sent a text message, instant message or e-mail while driving. Here's a breakdown of the results by age:

- 18-24 48%

- 25-34 27%

- 35-44 19%

- 45-54 11%

- 55-64 2%

- 65+ 1%

Four states -- Alaska, Minnesota, New Jersey and Washington -- recently enacted laws that ban sending text messages while driving. Thirteen other states are reportedly considering similar legislation.

"The potential legal implications of texting while driving go far beyond the possibility of a mere traffic violation," said Stephanie Rahlfs, an attorney at FindLaw.com. "In the case of a traffic accident, proof that the driver was texting while driving may be used to help prove liability for the accident, even in states that do not ban texting while driving." According to Rahlfs, it's conceivable that a jury could consider texting while driving as negligent or even reckless conduct.

The FindLaw survey was conducted using a demographically balanced telephone survey of 1,000 American adults and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus three percent.

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