Widespread cell phone use inspires 'No Texting, Just Driving' month

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Text messaging is becoming continually more widespread in the United States, a trend many law enforcement offers across the country view as cause for concern. In 2011, Americans read or composed approximately 196 billion text based messages, a figure marking a 50 percent increase from 2009. In response to the increasing prevalence of text messaging, the North Carolina Highway Patrol has declared June to be “No Texting, Just Driving Month,” and the law enforcement agency aims to increase public awareness of the dangers sending or reading text messages while operating a moving automobile can cause to drivers and others attempting to share the road. The public safety awareness program will be targeted especially toward teenage drivers, who statistics show, are more likely to distracted by text based messages while operating a vehicle. The increased enforcement effort targeting drivers violating the statewide ban on composing or reading text based messages from behind the wheel of a moving automobile will continue beyond the month of June. In 2008, nearly 6,000 people were killed in traffic collisions linked to distracted driving practices such as text messaging while driving in the state of North Carolina, according to accident statistics released by the North Carolina Highway Patrol. State law enforcement officers classify an accident as being linked to distracted driving if one of the motorists involved in the collision was engaged in any activity that took his or her eyes off the road ahead at the time the motorist’s car was involved in the crash.