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Reason Foundation

Most Texting Road Violations Come From Older Drivers

Samuel Staley
February 1, 2011, 9:30am

North Carolina imposed a ban on texting while driving last year. It turns out, it's not teenagers who are the biggest culprits. An analysis of texting violations by the Associated Press revealed that the average age was 28 and the median was 26 among the 1,200 drivers cited under the law.

Of course, these data say nothing of the millions of times phones were used safely on the roads. AAA found that 39 percent of drivers admitted to texting on the road. Clearly, only a tiny minority resulted in accidents or injuries.

Nevertheless, the violations data is reinforcing efforts to ban the use of phones in cars altogether, ignoring the fact the real issue should be how the technology is used. Phones can be used in a wide range of circumstances on the road, some more safe than others, even while driving. Moreover, the capacity of individual drivers to use the technology safely varies greatly. The focus of regulatory efforts should be on the safe use of the technology, not outright bans.


Samuel Staley is Research Fellow


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