52% Of Drivers Feel Unsafe While Driving

By Scott Sarvay

September 21, 2010 Updated Sep 21, 2010 at 5:43 PM EDT

INDIANA (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Last year almost 5,000 people died from distracted driving, with half a million more becoming injured. And those are only the cases reported.

Indiana has taken some steps towards lowering those statistics. But hasn't gone as far as some other states.

In July 2009 Indiana lawmakers signed a law that prohibits people under the age of 18 of using an electronic device while driving.

It's part of the Graduated License Program that also aims to cut down on distracted driving through restricting the hours teens are allowed behind the wheel.

But 30 states have banned texting and driving all together, though it's not always easily enforced.

Officials with the Criminal Justice Institute say talking on the phone compromises one's driving ability to the same extent as having a blood alcohol content of .08 and texting makes that number even higher.

But with the rise in technology in vehicles, like GPS and DVD players, there are more distractions than ever.

AAA-Chicago Field Manager Cheryle Stump says, “It's anything that you're doing that's preventing you from operating your vehicle safely. We're in the vehicle to drive, and anything else besides driving and operating that vehicle is considered distracted driving."

A new AAA report says a majority of drivers feel less safe on the roads than five years ago and the main reason for that is distracted driving.

Even though people know it's a problem, it seems a lot of those people turn around and become distracted drivers themselves.

It's the classic "do as I say, not as I do" scenario.

80-percent of people say they would support a law banning texting and driving. But about a quarter of those same people had done that very thing in the last month.

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