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5/7/2013 - Drivers still texting despite risks and warnings against it

Driving and texting appears to remain a problem on roadways across the country.

Even though talking on the phone and sending text messages behind the wheel has been shown to increase the risk of getting into an accident, a considerable number of people in the U.S. continue to assume this risk, a new report indicates.

According to recent numbers reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an estimated 660,000 drivers today still use cellphones and other electronic devices while operating a car. Despite numerous studies that have been released showing that this increases the likelihood of getting into an accident serious enough to warrant an auto insurance claim, that's about equal to how many used them in 2010.

"Distracted driving is a serious and deadly epidemic on America's roadways," said Ray LaHood, secretary of the Department of Transportation. "There is no way to text and drive safely. Powering down your cell phone when you're behind the wheel can save lives – maybe even your own."

David Strickland, administrator for the NHTSA, added that a lot of people intuitively understand that using an electronic device at the wheel is dangerous, but still use them because they believe that a crash won't happen to them.

"I urge all motorists to use common sense and keep their attention focused solely on the task of safely driving," said Strickland.

Thus far, 39 states prohibit motorists from texting while driving and 10 states ban all motorists from using any type of handheld device. There are some legislators trying to broaden this ban by also preventing hands-free, voice-activated texting while at the wheel.

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