STEVE INSKEEP, host:
The list of people fighting against texting while driving ranges from President Obama to Oprah. Its banned in 19 states and in Washington D.C. Still many people do it as you can see on any highway this morning, no doubt.
And Sacha Pfeiffer reports from member station WBUR.
SACHA PFEIFFER: It seems so obvious. You shouldnt be typing a text message if youre operating a moving vehicle.
Mr. TODD HUDSON: I really shouldnt at all, but I do.
PFEIFFER: Todd Hudson is 34 years old and hes sitting in a coffee shop in Somerville, Massachusetts, called the Diesel Cafe. He says he tries not to text while driving if hes in heavy traffic or taking turns. If he does do it, he likes to pull over to the side of the road first.
Mr. HUDSON: Yeah, thats my ideal, but I never quite - never quite match that ideal. I mean, you get a text from somebody, and you want to respond to it.
PFEIFFER: Hes not breaking the law. Massachusetts is poised to ban texting while driving, but hasnt done it yet. At a nearby table, Nick Gross, whos 46, says he used to text behind the wheel, but not anymore.
Mr. NICK GROSS: I couldnt do the two things at the same time without sacrificing one of them.
(Soundbite of laughter)
PFEIFFER: But he remembers the mental battle of being in his car and wanting to tap away on that little keypad.
Mr. GROSS: My internal dialogue is to have to tell myself, Im going to be there in five minutes. Im going to see this person in five minutes anyway. Theres no point in texting that. But, you know, on the flip side, its like, well, I need to tell them Im going to be there in five minutes, so that they know and can be waiting for me.
PFEIFFER: And remember Nick is pushing 50. So texting while driving isnt something just teenagers and 20-somethings do. In fact, the biggest growth in texting is among people over 35. But even though some studies show texting while driving is more dangerous than drunk driving, not everyone thinks its always unsafe.
Mr. TYLER OSTERGAARD: There are certainly times, when driving, when I think you can do it and times when you cant.
PFEIFFER: Tyler Ostergaard is 25.
Mr. OSTERGAARD: So if youre going through a rotary, yeah, then its a bad idea, but I think that you can make a judgment call. There are times if youre, like, going down the highway, for example, where you can fairly easily text and maintain good driving without endangering yourself or others.
PFEIFFER: He and other people I talked to say highways are straight and wide, so you can see whats coming and stop texting if things seem risky. Some people told me they wont text in intersections or bad weather, but will do it at stop signs and red lights. Others say they text when theyre in the suburbs, but not in cities, because of all the bicyclists and pedestrians. Ben Voskeritchian, who is 26, says he tries to spread the word that texting while driving is unsafe.
Mr. BEN VOSKERITCHIAN: I always tell all of my friends, Im like, stop, get off your phone. Like if Im driving next to them, or if Im the passenger or whatever.
PFEIFFER: Of course, he admits he occasionally texts behind the wheel himself.
Mr. VOSKERITCHIAN: Thats kind of hypocritical. Not kind of. It is hypocritical.
(Soundbite of laughter)
PFEIFFER: But to borrow a phrase from a local performer, why settle for a single standard when you can have a double one.
For NPR News, Im Sacha Pfeiffer.
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