US teens ignore text driving laws

Despite tough new anti-sms while driving laws in some States, US teens are still texting while behind the wheel.

Reuters says that while there is momentum building in Washington for all 50 states to outlaw text messaging behind the wheel, there is no evidence that teen drivers would listen.

In states where the law is in place it is religiously ignored by teens. Some police agencies say it is nearly impossible for them to enforce the law – do these cops not have guns?

The California Highway Patrol has handed out nearly 163,000 tickets to drivers talking on hand-held phones since mid-2008. But it has issued only 1,400 texting citations since January.

The problem is that it is harder to spot if a person is actually writing an SMS, particularly if they are holding it down in their lap. Teens just turn off the phone if they are pulled over and the evidence is deleted.

A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that usage of mobile phones for calls and texting in North Carolina actually increased after the state banned them for drivers under the age of 18.

Steven Bloch, senior research associate for the Automobile Club, said that texting has become such a component of life for teens and for young people that it’s hard for them to differentiate between doing something normal and doing something wrong.