Norfolk military included in texting and driving study

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — The military in Hampton Roads is winning the war against a potentially deadly threat here at home.

A recent study shows texting while driving is less of a problem here than in other parts of the country. 10 On Your Side’s Military Reporter Art Kohn looked deeper at the numbers and has some interesting facts.

USAA recently commissioned a study of active-duty personnel across the five branches of the armed forces to learn about their habits and attitudes regarding distracted driving. With its high volume of military drivers, Norfolk was one of the areas included in the survey

Texting while driving is certainly not a problem specific to the military, but the numbers for people in uniform are interesting.

Nationwide, more than two out of five (or 43 percent) of service members surveyed admit to texting while driving. Locally, the numbers are slightly better — 39 percent admit to texting while driving. Of those, one out of four (or 28-percent) say they do it out of habit. Productivity and staying connected were the other main reasons cited by respondents, both locally and nationwide.

Overall, the survey found that service members who have been deployed at least once are significantly less likely than those who have never been deployed to read or send text messages while driving.

“Only 39 percent of those who had ever been deployed admitted to texting while driving on a regular basis, compared to 53 percent for those that had never been deployed,” said Joel Camarano with USAA.

Key findings of the study include: Norfolk service members are slightly more likely than service members overall to stop texting and driving, if asked by a commanding officer.

“… they do have influence over their subordinates and they need to make sure they’re keeping safety on the forefront,” Comarano said.

Only 19 percent of local respondents feel obligated to respond to a text while driving if it comes from a commanding officer or immediate supervisor. However, 31 percent say they are still likely to respond.

Norfolk service members are more likely to stop texting and driving if asked by their base commander or high ranking officer than service members overall. But only by one percent — 58 percent versus 57 percent.

10 On Your Side makes a special effort to keep people from texting while driving with a campaign called “W82TXT.” To take the W82TXT pledge — a vow to never text while driving — click here.

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