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Many drivers believe they can drive and text safely

Mississippi drivers may be texting and driving even though they think others doing so is dangerous. Progressive Insurance conducted an online survey in August of about 1,000 people who were not their customers and found that although around 34 percent said they were confident in their ability to text and drive safely, nearly two-thirds said they believed texting and driving was the main cause of traffic accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2015, distracted driving was a factor in motor vehicle accidents that killed 3,477 people and injured 391,000.

There was both a gender and an age divide in how drivers perceived their ability to text and drive safely. About twice as many men thought they were able to do so compared to women. Furthermore, nearly two-thirds of 18-to-35-year-olds reported being very or somewhat confident that they could drive and text safely. Just 6 percent of people 55 and older felt the same way. Among drivers of all ages, more than 80 percent said police should be able to pull over people just for texting and driving.

Drivers also listed other potentially distracting activities that they found acceptable. Among them were making a call, listening to music and reading a map.

When a distracted driver causes an accident that leads to other people being injured, that driver may not face criminal charges. However, if the driver's insurance company does not offer enough compensation to the injured people, it still may be possible to file a successful civil lawsuit with the assistance of an attorney. The reason is that the burden of proof in a civil lawsuit is lower because it only requires a preponderance of evidence. Another possibility is that the driver responsible might offer to settle out of court.

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