Who is on the other end of a driver's texts?

Especially in the wake of a lot of bad press and stepped-up enforcement efforts targeting distracted driving, a resident of the Bay Area might wonder what exactly is so important that people are willing to keep texting and driving. After all, California drivers should know by now that such behavior can cause severe and even fatal car accidents.

While to some degree, work commitments are a temptation to text and drive or, on a related point, take an unnecessary phone call, the reality is that most of the time, people are texting and driving with close personal acquaintances.

Specifically, according to a recent study, about 45 percent of drivers were willing to communicate with their spouse or significant other while on the road. Although these communications did not necessarily always involve texting, the statistic is still telling, particular since this percentage spiked to 59 percent for drivers who have children under 18.

While about 1 in 3 drivers indicated that they communicate with their friends, close to 1 in 4 of all drivers said they would also communicate with their children. Among drivers with minor children, this number jumped from 23 percent to 32 percent.

Relatively speaking, significantly fewer drivers were willing to communicate with the professional contacts while behind the wheel.

When people explained why they would choose to text and drive, over 60 percent said it was because they were afraid that if they did not, they would miss an emergency communication. This statistic makes more sense if one considers that people are talking to loved ones and may have honest concerns for the safety.

Still, this is no excuse for distracted driving, as it only takes a few moments to pull over if there really is an emergency. Those who do engage in distracted driving can and should be held financially accountable for the damage they cause.

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