According to a Reuter’s article today, about 1/4 of Americans admit to driving while texting ("DWT"). The article points out that this is occuring despite several high profile auto crash cases resulting in serious injuries and deaths as well as the proposal and passage of laws banning the practice in several states. Given the apparent widespread nature of this extremely dangerous activity, DWT is certain to be the topic of much discussion in the coming months. It will be interesting to see if the proposed laws and media attention change people’s behavior in the way seatbelt legislation did years ago. DWT would seem to be even more distracting, and therefore more dangerous, than cellphone use while driving given that the driver has to look at his or her cellphone or pda in order to read and text a response. From a legal perspective, it is unclear whether DWT will give rise to punitive damage claims in auto cases in the same way operating while intoxicated ("OWI") can.
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