Texting numbers a concern

Despite recent laws banning the practice of texting and driving and education efforts aimed at young drivers, a new survey shows North Dakota and South Dakota have the highest rates of high-school aged teens who admit texting and driving.

The report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that 61 percent of teen drivers grades 9 through 12 in South Dakota admitted texting or sending emails while driving, compared to 59 percent of that same age group in North Dakota. The national average is about 41 percent.

We can’t say we’re surprised, given the number of times we’ve witnessed similar behavior firsthand while driving down Broadway, Burdick Expressway or virtually any other street in Minot. Drivers careen down city streets with their thumbs flying across their phone’s keyboard is a common sight nowadays, and it always gives us great cause for concern. Having said that, it’s not always teens we witness partaking in texting and driving; there are plenty of folks in all age groups doing it, too.

Still, 59 percent of teen drivers who are texting and driving is disappointing. We know there are some who continue to argue that all distracted driving is dangerous, not just texting, and they are absolutely right. But there can be little argument that typing on your phone while driving is decidedly dangerous not only to the driver and the occupants of their vehicle, but other vehicles on the road, too. Hopefully, that 59 percent number is reduced when future texting and driving surveys are conducted.