While the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety made some very disturbing findings concerning the incidence of texting while driving in its 2014 report on driver behavior, it did make at least one finding that served as cause for encouragement: nearly 85 percent of surveyed drivers indicated that they knew this conduct was "completely unacceptable."
If this finding somehow caused you to hope that Americans were perhaps finally starting to get the message that distracted driving is incredibly dangerous and that 2015 would finally be the year that we see texting while driving rates decline, you are not alone.
Unfortunately, you should now prepare to be sorely disappointed.
After surveying 2,067 people aged 16 to 65 who owned a smartphone and drove at least once a day, a recent survey by AT&T found that texting while driving is indeed alive and well, with a whopping 61 percent of respondents indicating that they engaged in this practice.
As disappointing as this is, consider that the survey revealed that motorists have also expanded the scope of their distracted driving practices to a worrying degree:
- Internet: 28 percent of respondents accessed the World Wide Web while driving.
- Facebook: 27 percent of respondents perused this social media staple while driving.
- Selfies: 17 percent of respondents couldn't resist the urge to snap a picture of themselves while driving.
- Twitter: 14 percent of respondents felt compelled to tweet while driving.
- Video chat: 10 percent of respondents went beyond a call or text while driving.
While the survey stopped short of providing theories as to why so many people continue to drive distracted, experts theorize that it ranges from simple overconfidence in their driving skills to the addictive nature of smartphones.
In the end, it really doesn't matter why people are choosing to drive distracted. What does matter, however, is when this reckless conduct causes undue suffering to an otherwise innocent motorist and their family. In these scenarios, all options must be considered.