A new distracted driving study by Plymouth Rock Assurance finds the number of New Jersey drivers who park their cars before texting has doubled over the last year.

Distracted driving
Lisa F. Young, ThinkStock

"In 2013 only about a quarter of respondents, 27 percent, said that they would pull over if they had to read or send a text.  That number is now over half, at 55 percent," said Gerry Wilson, president and CEO of Plymouth Rock Management.

Wilson said the poll numbers reveal that progress is being made in the awareness of distracted driving and that more people seem to understand how dangerous distracted driving is.

"It's a cultural shift that we have to go through. It's not unlike back in the day when drinking and driving was a lot more acceptable than it is today. It took a lot of time and awareness, and unfortunately tragedies for people to come to the view that it's just not acceptable, and I think distracted driving is unfortunately going to have to go through the same process," Wilson said.

And while awareness of the dangers of distracted driving is growing among all age groups, texting while driving is probably still skewed more toward younger motorists, said Wilson.

Despite the favorable poll results, more work is needed because the poll also reveals that distracted driving is still happening.

Twenty-six percent of those polled confessed to texting while driving, and over 50 percent of those who text behind the wheel admitted to texting while driving at least weekly over the past six months

But talking and texting isn't the only type of distracted driving that people are engaging in.  "Motorists admit that they participate in some sort of distracted driving behavior - almost everyone says that they do that, but that could be something that doesn't involve texting," Wilson said.

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

"It's not a safe thing when you're not looking at the road," Wilson said.









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