Survey: Nearly half of young MI drivers text while driving

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Nearly half of young adult drivers in Michigan admit to sending messages from their cellphones while on the road, a new survey shows.

Glengariff Group, Inc. surveyed 400 Michigan drivers between the ages of 20 and 30 years old; 41 percent said they texted or emailing regularly while driving.

More than 26 percent of those surveyed said they texted or emailed while driving on a daily basis, despite the state law that prohibits reading, manually typing or sending a text message while driving.

The director of the Office of Highway Safety Planning said the surveyed drivers “have an overwhelming desire to remain connected with others no matter what the risk,” leading to the growing problem of distracted driving.

Despite the danger, 51 percent admitted to texting at night and 22 said they texted while driving in snow.

A total of 56 percent of drivers were most likely to text on a local road.

While nearly one in five young adult drivers said they were addicted to their cellphone, they did identify some deterrents. Among those surveyed, 77 percent said they would be much less likely to text or read texts if a child was in their vehicle; 53 percent said they would be less likely to text while driving if the punishment included points on their driving records.

The punishment for breaking Michigan’s current texting ban is a $100 fine for the first offense. The fine doubles after that.

The OHSP says it plans to use the results from the survey it commissioned to come up with strategies to curb the number of distracted driving crashes, which rose roughly 40 percent between 2014 and 2015.