Few Texting-While-Driving Tickets Issued

Less than one ticket a day on average in some states

Thirty-nine states have laws that ban texting while driving, but are they keeping us any safer? A new report casts doubt. USA Today conducted a survey of state police agencies, and found the laws are resulting, in some cases, in fewer than one ticket per day being issued.

According to the study: Tennessee state troopers have issued, on average, 24 tickets per month. Louisiana state police have issued an average of 18 tickets a month. Then there's North Dakota. State police have only issued 117 citations since a texting-while-driving ban went into effect in August 2011, about six per month.

Some states with laws on the books aren't even sure how many texting while driving tickets are being issued. Arkansas, Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia have no way of tracking such citations.

The AAA Foundation's Traffic Safety Culture Index for 2012 found that 81 percent of drivers surveyed viewed texting while driving as "a very serious threat to safety." Sill 35 percent of those surveyed had read a text and 27 percent had sent one while driving within the previous month.

In 2010 3,267 people died in distracted-driving-related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In 2011, the most recent year for which numbers are available, the number rose to 3,331, a 1.92 percent increase.

Texting while driving may not be the worst distracted driving threat on roadways. A study released by the Erie Insurance Group looked at 65,000 fatal car crashes over the past two years. According to police reports, 10 percent overall were caused by distracted driving. Of those distracted driving deaths, the majority - 62 percent - were caused by a daydreaming driver.

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