Report: More Drivers Using Cell Phones, Text Messaging On the Road

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The latest research findings on driver electronic device use reports a significant increase between 2009 and 2010, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The percentage of drivers who were text messaging or visibly manipulating hand-held devices rose from 0.6 percent in 2009 to 0.9 percent in 2010, while driver hand-held cell phone use stood at 5 percent in 2010, according to NHTSA’s Traffic Safety Facts research note.

The 8-page report, published last month, goes into further detail, showing a breakdown of various factors, such as driver hand-held cell phone use by age and the percent of drivers holding phones to their ears while driving by major characteristics.

The findings are based on drivers of passenger vehicles. Interstate commercial drivers are banned from using hand-held cell phones while operating their commercial truck or bus. In November the U.S. Department of Transportation announced a final rule on the commercial driver cell phone ban. Then, a month later, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published its final rule on the ban, and the National Transportation Safety Board released recommendations to outlaw all forms of wireless communication while driving.