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Distracted driving increasing in Wisconsin, nationwide

Distracted driving contributes to thousands of car accidents every single year which change the lives of everyone involved. In 2010 alone, there were 3,092 people who lost their lives when a driver became distracted. In fact, one in every 11 U.S. traffic deaths can be traced back to distracted driving.

Safety experts across the nation say that while cellphone use remains on the rise in Wisconsin and across the nation, instances of distracted driving will only increase as well. Even more shocking than the number of fatalities is the attitude many drivers have towards the negligent behavior.

A recently conducted survey found that approximately 75 percent of drivers openly admit to either carrying on a cellphone conversation or sending a text while driving. More shocking than that is the 50 percent of those who said they do not believe that using a cellphone while driving has any impact on their driving ability.

What many may consider a bit ironic is that 90 percent of those surveyed reported a feeling of discomfort for their safety when riding in a car while the driver is talking or texting.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has already implemented a number of campaigns to help educate Americans about the dangers associated with on the road cellphone use, but that is not enough say critics - many of which include law enforcement officials.

"It is clear that educational messages alone aren't going to change behavior," said one safety administration spokesman. "Rather, good laws with strong enforcement are what is needed. Many drivers won't stop texting until they fear getting a ticket."

Source: Forbes, "Distracted Driving On the Rise, Researchers Find," Dec. 13, 2011

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