May 23rd, 2008 by

vlingo is a Cambridge MA firm specializing in voice recognition software. They have completed a study of driving habits, specifically, the prevalence of driving while texting (DWT) across the US. The results, in the context of the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, are nothing less than terrifying. In a survey of nearly 5,000 consumers, fully 28 percent of drivers (mostly under 30) admitted to texting while driving. Twenty eight percent!
The problem seems greatest in the south, with South Carolina ranking a dubious number one. (“Hw yal dun?”) The New England states appear to be a bit slower to adopt this radically unsafe practice. Massachusetts ranked 23rd in the study, with Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire ranking near the bottom.
Memorial Day Warning?
The Insider has already blogged the first two recorded deaths attributed to DWT: Lucas Rolin in the United States and Marni Triggs in Tackley, England. Apparently, “Lucas” and “Marni” are just the first of many names to be carved onto a cell phone shaped monument.
In Massachusetts, we have long assumed that the “nut behind the (other) wheel” is full of aggressive tendencies. Apparently, we don’t know the half of it. As we barrel down the highway at 72 miles per hour, we might be next to some whackjob channel surfing his radio, fiddling with the GPS and exchanging text messages with a distant buddy. Yikes!
Fully 85% of survey respondents said they would not DWT if it were illegal. While it might seem like legislative overkill, that might just be the way to go.