Problem with texting and driving may be lack of enforcement

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Despite the warnings, laws and numbers, people keep texting and driving.

The National Safety Council estimates cell phones in cars account for 25 percent of all crashes in the United States. For drivers under 25-years-old, cell phones are the leading cause of death. That’s more than the next three leading causes combined.

Kansas and Missouri both have laws that restrict texting and driving. Missouri bans texting for drivers under 21-years-old. In Kansas, the practice is illegal at any age.

The problem with both states is enforcement. Few tickets have been written.    

University of Kansas psychologist Dr. Paul Atchley said drivers also can't ignore the buzz or blink of the phone.

“Information loses value very quickly. If you put off texting back your significant other for a day there will be repercussions for that you need to respond for that to mean something,” Atchley said. “So young adults feel compelled to respond as quickly as possible.”

Kids as young as ten have cell phones.

Dr. Atchley said by the time those kids are driving they've come to rely on their phone which makes it much harder for them to turn it off or ignore it.

He also said the best place for a phone is where the driver can't see, hear or reach it.

Most parents warn their children about texting and driving, but a new study shows parents may be part of the problem.

More than half of the 400 teens surveyed said their parents called multiple times while they were driving. Parents said they call to check in on their children, even if they know their kids are behind the wheel.

Researchers suggest coming up with a system of communication that does not put a driver in danger.

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