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Kids These Days: More Drivers Using Cellphones Than Before

Photograph by Artpose Adam Borkowski via Shutterstock
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We love our smartphones in California, and as the findings of a just-released study indicate, we love using them while we're behind the wheel more now than previously.

The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) studied 130 intersections in 17 counties throughout California looking for the use of mobile devices while behind the wheel. During the course of the study, researchers were out to "observe whether drivers had a phone to their ear, were wearing a Bluetooth or headset device, were manipulating a hand-held device, or were talking while holding a phone in their hand but not to their ear."

The study found that 10.8 percent of people on the road are using cell phones at various points throughout the day.

That nearly-11 percent figure is a jump from the 7.3 percent rate determined last year.

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Not surprisingly, it's the young folks who are using their phones more than in 2011: "Although observed cell phone use increases were seen across all age groups, 16 to 25 year olds showed a dramatic rise, doubling from 9 percent to 18 percent," notes a release from the OTS on the study. Experts theorize that the increase in usage while driving among younger people is that those motorists are more acclimated to texting as a form of communication, and are more used to using apps on their phones.

California's hands-free cellphone use law went into enforcement July 1, 2008. A few months later, a study found that the data showed no impact on the frequency of crashes. As a Bay Area judge reminded one cited motorist, the hands-free law applies even when you're stopped at a light.

But will we ever see a nation-wide outright ban on cellphone use behind the wheel? Back in December 2011, The National Transportation Safety Board recommended that cellphone use while driving should be banned while driving, period.