Insurance industry wants to block texting while driving
The trade group said Tuesday that texting while driving is a big-enough problem to warrant new products and services designed to block individual cellphones or smartphones from sending or receiving text messages while in a moving vehicle.
More than half of the respondents in the survey said they would consider such a product as long as it was free. But interest dropped off when people were asked if they would pay for a blocking service.
Younger drivers were the biggest culprits -- 31% of drivers 24 and younger and 41% of drivers age 25 to 39 reported texting while driving.
That compared to just 5% of drivers 55 and older.
They survey talked to more than 1,400 licensed drivers. “These findings confirm that a large number of drivers are engaging in very dangerous behavior,” said Elizabeth Sprinkel, senior vice president of the IRC. “The need to find an effective response to this behavior is becoming increasingly clear.”
Distracted drivers are about four times as likely to be involved in crashes as those who are focused exclusively on driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Drivers who are texting can be more than 20 times more likely to crash than non-distracted drivers.
Driver distraction was involved in 5,474 fatal crashes in 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
-- Jerry Hirsch
Photo: A motorist who appears to be texting while driving in Beverly Hills. Credit: Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times