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More people admit to texting, emailing while driving

Oregon Department of Transportation
Texting while at the wheel

More people in the state admit they text or email while driving now than they did than two years ago.

Sixteen percent of those surveyed say they have done it - or do it on a regular basis.  That's twice as many people as in 2012.

Lynn Sutfin is with the state Office of Highway Safety Planning.

"Texting and emailing, those are probably some of the chief ways that people communicate these days," says Sutfin.  "Unfortunately they are continuing to communicate that way when they're behind the wheel of a vehicle."

That's the bad news from a survey of driver behavior in Michigan.

But there's some good news, too.

Sutfin says there's an increase in the number of people getting the message that drinking alcohol and driving is unsafe.

Forty percent of people in the survey said it would be unsafe to drive after having two drinks in two hours.

"And then we had almost 27% that felt it would be unsafe after one drink – so like I said, some of that messaging is definitely hitting home."

Sutfin says there's now a pretty big stigma against drinking and driving.

She says it's hoped that texting while driving will someday carry the same stigma, to encourage people to stop.


Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.