The campaign against texting while driving is having little impact, reports USA Today. Nearly seven in 10 young drivers still text behind the wheel, and a growing number of them access the Internet on their cellphones while driving, according to a new annual survey by State Farm. Despite years-long national campaigns against texting while driving, which is now illegal in 39 states and the District of Columbia, 68 percent of drivers ages 18 to 29 reported engaging in the practice, up from 64 percent last year. Thirty-four percent of all drivers reported texting while driving, up from 32 percent a year ago.
There were even sharper increases in the equally risky behavior of surfing the Internet while driving: 48 percent of young drivers reported accessing the Web behind the wheel, up from 43 percent. Those figures exclude programming a GPS device. “It could be” that the nation’s anti-texting campaigns should include warnings about surfing while driving, says Chris Mullen, State Farm’s director of technology research. Since 2009, State Farm has conducted an annual online survey of about 1,000 licensed drivers 18 and older to study drivers’ attitudes and behaviors regarding distracted driving. The Department of Transportation says that 3,092 people were killed and an additional 416,000 were injured in distracted-related crashes in 2010.