NHTSA Survey: Texting by Drivers up 50 Percent in 2010

By JOAN LOWY | December 9, 2011

New federal safety data shows texting while driving increased 50 percent last year, despite a rush by states to ban the practice.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does an annual survey that watches drivers’ behavior at selected intersections. The latest study caught less than 1 percent texting or manipulating hand-held devices. But it shows that activity increased to 0.9 percent last year, up from 0.6 percent the year before.

The share of drivers speaking in headsets also increased, although hand-held cellphone use remained flat.

The increase in texting while driving came despite bans on the practice in many states. Last month, Pennsylvania became the 35th state to impose a ban.

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