I get very nervous when I ride shotgun with people who decide to read their Blackberry or send text messages when driving. It is an inherently stupid and dumb thing to do, considering that not only it puts their own well being at risk, it raises […]

I get very nervous when I ride shotgun with people who decide to read their Blackberry or send text messages when driving. It is an inherently stupid and dumb thing to do, considering that not only it puts their own well being at risk, it raises dangers for everyone on the around. There have be an increase in number of the accidents as a result of the DWT (Driving while TXTing)

Apparently there are many such people out there. A survey by Common Knowledge Research Services on behalf of Vlingo, polled 5,000 people about their text messaging habits. The study found that nearly 28% people send text messages while driving. The drivers in South Carolina (word), Tennessee, Georgia, Maryland and Louisiana are the worst offenders. Arizona has the lowest incidence of DWT, the survey reports.

I wonder if this is a more dangerous trend than simply talking on the cell phone while driving, and needs to be legislated as soon as possible. Twenty three US states are considering legislation to ban driving while texting. They should do it soon. The survey shows that 85% of those who were texting while driving say they won’t DWT if it was illegal. To them: you don’t need a law to not be stupid.

Some other interesting facts from the survey:

* 55% consumers use their mobile phones to text message.
* 42% use their mobile phones equally or more for texting than making phones calls.
* 85% of teens (ages 13-19) and young adults (ages 20-29) are the most inclined to txt.
* 34% send 500 or more texts each month.

  1. It is illegal to text while driving in Australia, its insanity to think you should try to read or write an email/text while driving a car.

    The sooner it becomes illegal in the US the better, its incredibly unsafe.

  2. Could not agree more. I was driving to the airport last week and saw a car ahead of me that was all over the road, drifting between lanes. As I went past him (hoping it was better to put some distance between us) I looked over and saw that he was busy trying to type on his Blackberry while driving. I hope he made it safe to where ever he was going, but it certainly wasn’t increasing his odds of arriving without harm by driving and typing at the same time.

  3. yup i agree specially in the Philippines some people drive while txting its so stupid thing they do they don’t even care that they might cause an accident.

  4. Om,

    It seems you’ve found the poster child for stupidity when it comes to texting. Whatever happened to common sense with teenagers?

    I think the larger issue is beyond the regulation of texting as I don’t think that form of regulation is enforceable. Simply, how does an officer know when someone is texting versus viewing their cell phone screen? How do police decide between someone who’s using a hands free device that may be dialing versus texting, note that “hands free” doesn’t really me “hands free” as much as it means “hands free while talking” as the phone manufacturers aren’t required to make voice based navigation on their phones. This requirement of the phone manufacturers would deliver true “hands free” driving.

    Hence the larger and real issue is the regulation of cell phone use by teens and young adults as they drive. They are the most likely to text while driving, yet they would be singled out which the ACLU is likely to fight.

    BIG problem.

  5. My latest was watching someone smoke and text while making a left-hand turn onto El Camino. Can’t wait until there are video-to-Twitter uploads available.

  6. @Curtis –

    I agree that regulation prohibiting texting while driving wouldn’t be very enforceable. It’s probably still worth it though, especially if it kicked in additional penalties for accidents that happened while texting.

    Your comment focuses on teenagers/young adults, which I think is only part of the problem. The guy I saw going all over the road was clearly over 30.

  7. I think the problem is two-fold…it’s unenforcable and that’s easily seen by how lax the police are about the cell phone bans. It’s been completely ineffective and people frequently drive by cops while on the phone in downtown Chicago. Trying to figure out if someone is texting would be even more difficult as they don’t have to be holding their phone in plain sight like with a call. The second problem is that if it’s not one distraction, it’s another, and there’s still people on the highway reading the newspaper or eating and driving erratically as a result.

  8. Om, thanks for drawing attention to this; solving this disconnect is precisely why we were founded. Hopefully we’ll be able to give everyone a happy medium to reduce/eliminate the manual entry that is so prevalent today.

  9. If it was my daughter putting her life and the lives of everybody else unfortunate enough to be on the same street as her I’d have either taken the phone and/or the car away.
    Idiot child and idiot parent for letting her do it – these people who think texting is so important are killing innocent people.

  10. [...] Malik nailed it on the head in his GigaOM post earlier this week, “Driving While TXTing (DWT) Is Stupid.” Talking on your cell phone while driving is probably not smart, yet we all do it. But texting [...]


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