Right Now There Are 660,000 Drivers Using Their Cell Phones In The U.S.

A new study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveals that Americans still just can't put down their goddamn cell phones when they're driving.

The study, entitled Driver Electronic Device Use in 2011, shows that at any given moment during the daytime in America, 660,000 drivers are using their hand-held cell phones while they're behind the wheel. That translates to a whopping 5 percent of all drivers.

In addition: "According to separate NHTSA data, more than 3,300 people were killed in 2011 and 387,000 were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver."

However, they don't note how many of those distracted driving deaths were phone-related. And while distracted driving isn't the public health epidemic that the NHTSA has made it out to be, I think all of us can agree that texting when you're driving is a bad idea.

Possibly the only good news to come of this — if you can call it that — is that the prevalence of cell phone use behind the wheel has not risen in recent years. It has hovered around 5 or 6 percent since 2004, according to the NHTSA data.

Interestingly, they also say that as much as 94 percent of driver claim to support bans on texting while driving, which exist in 39 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories.

More from the study:

More than 6,000 respondents age 16 and older were interviewed by phone for the National Survey on Distracted Driving Attitudes and Behaviors. Almost half of drivers said they answer an incoming call and one in four drivers are willing to place a call on all, most, or some trips. Slightly fewer are willing to make a call while driving compared to 2010 (28% to 24%), but there is little if any change in those who answer a call while driving (52% to 49%). Considering that in 2011 there were almost 212 million licensed drivers in the America, about 102 million drivers were answering calls and 50 million drivers were placing calls while driving.

Some tips from the NHTSA on safe driving include talking to your teens about responsible driving and wearing your seat belt to protect you from unsafe drivers.

Some tips from Patrick George on safe driving include DON'T TEXT WHEN YOU'RE DRIVING, IDIOT. Also, get a manual transmission. It's more fun, you'll look cool in front of all your friends, and it will take care of your texting behind the wheel problem right away.

UPDATE: Here's why this may not be as scary as the NHTSA makes it seem.

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