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Review: States Stepping Up Fight Against Distracted Driving

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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – While no U.S. state fully bans cell phone use while driving, a new report finds that many states are stepping up their efforts to fight distracted driving.

Upwards of 90-percent of the American population owns a cell phone, with 50-percent of them smartphone owners.

Karen Sprattler, the lead author of the study done for the Governors Highway Safety Association, said, “We know that those same people, a third of them, said that they read a text or an email during driving. More than a quarter of them reported typing or sending a text or email while driving.”

Texas is one of nine states without a ban on texting and driving, but 47 states and the District of Columbia now have some type of laws banning different forms of distracted driving. “In 2012 into 2013 almost every state is making greater strides in upping their enforcement for this dangerous activity,” Sprattler said.

Texas bans the practice of texting and driving while in school zones, for drivers under the age of 18 and for school bus drivers.

The study also found that a majority of states are focused on the distracted driving of teenagers. Four states, including Texas, now work with local affiliates to offer education and “technology-use policies” to employers across the state.

Sprattler said, “There are 11 states that are completely hands-free, in terms of their use of cell phones. Thirty-seven states now have total bans on cell phones use by teens.”

While the state of Texas is collecting data on the distracted driving problem, a State House passed bill in the regular session, which would have banned the practice, failed to get a vote in the Texas Senate.

According to Sprattler, nine in 10 Texas drivers consider texting and talking on the phone a threat to their personal safety.

As far as texting and driving, some cities in the Lone Star Sate have taken the initiative. Austin, San Antonio, El Paso, Galveston, and McAllen all ban texting and driving within city limits.

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