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Texting and Phoning While Driving Incidents Getting Worse…At Least in Texas

December 02, 2010

Fifty-two percent of Texas drivers would support a law banning mobile phone use while driving, according to a Texas Transportation Institute survey. A Houston Chronicle article reports that up to 85 percent say texting or talking while driving is worse than it was five years ago. The results conflicted with data showing that accident deaths have declined.

The survey of 1,167 licensed drivers was conducted at 10 driver license stations operated by the Texas Department of Public Safety in September and October.

Although roadway deaths are down, more than a third of Texas drivers think the roads are less safe, the survey found. Sixty percent said aggressive driving has gotten worse.

Several bills to ban or limit wireless phone use while driving already have been filed as Texas lawmakers convene the 2011 legislative session in January. One would ban texting, instant messaging, and e-mailing while driving. Another would ban talking on the phone while driving unless the driver uses a hands-free device. And another would toughen penalties for drivers who violate the existing ban on phone use in a school zone.

Forty-eight percent of those surveyed favor using cameras to ticket drivers who run red lights. Thirty-six percent oppose it.

Houston residents recently voted to turn off the city's red-light cameras, about four years after they were first activated.

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