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Drivers Know Cellphone Use Dangerous, Use Them Anyway

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- While most drivers understand the dangers of using electronic devices while behind the wheel, a large percentage use them anyway, according to a survey released by the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

According to the survey, released as part of the NHTSA's recognition of April as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, approximately 660,000 drivers used cellphones or manipulated electronic devices while driving during daylight hours, numbers that have held steady since 2010.

While fiddling with a stereo or iPod is dangerous and distracting while driving, according to the NHTSA, texting and hand-held cellphone use were considered more dangerous and have garnered more attention from recent surveys and studies.

The NHTSA survey also found that 74 percent of drivers support a ban on hand-held cellphone use, while 94 percent believe texting while driving should be outlawed. On average, these drivers believed the fines for these offenses should be at least $200, according to the report.

Texting while driving is currently outlawed in 39 states and the District of Columbia. Hand-held cellphone use is outlawed in 10 states, and the District of Columbia.

Wireless provider AT&T released a texting while driving survey of its own last month. Ninety-eight percent of the drivers it polled also said they understood the dangers of texting while driving.

Despite the fact that almost all drivers surveyed by AT&T said texting and driving was dangerous, 43 percent of teenage drivers said they still did it, while 49 percent of older commuters admitted the same.

"Many drivers see distracted driving as risky when other drivers do it, but do not recognize how their own driving deteriorates," NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said in a statement. "I urge all motorists to use common sense and keep their attention focused solely on the task of safely driving."

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