Massachusetts not doing as much texting while driving

Distracted driving numbers are down in Massachusetts.  PHOTO BY NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO
Distracted driving numbers are down in Massachusetts.
Credit: Nicolaus Czarnecki/Metro

A new distracted driving study by Plymouth Rock Assurance finds that Massachusetts motorists not only text while driving less than last year, but also are less inclined to do so compared with the rest of the Northeast.

Fifty-six percent of the 3,300 drivers surveyed throughout New England and New Jersey admitted to texting while driving, but in Massachusetts, where 500 drivers were surveyed, only 26 percent copped to it.

Last year, 39 percent of Bay State drivers surveyed said they texted behind the wheel.

Plymouth Rock Assurance CEO Chris Olie said he hopes the lower numbers are a result of safety awareness campaigns throughout the state.

“I think the spotlight continues to be shown on this; hoping people are taking it more seriously,” said Ollie. “It appears to be a positive trend. I’d like to think it will get better each year.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,328 fatalities can be linked to distracted driving annually.

Virtually all respondents said they had participated in at least one distracted driving behavior; only 1 percent claimed to drive without any distractions.

Nearly two-thirds say they perform at least one distracted driving behavior daily.

Top distracted driving behaviors include:

    • Talking with passengers: 95%
    • Tuning the radio: 92%
    • Reaching for items in the passenger seat: 84%
    • Eating or drinking: 83%

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
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