Distracted drivers still texting and talking on cell phones despite ban

Distracted drivers still texting and talking on cell phones despite ban

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow)- You name it and drivers have seen it: texting, eating, putting on makeup, even watching TV. The threat of a 150-dollar ticket isn't enough to convince Oahu drivers to change their bad habits behind the wheel.

We caught drivers on Bishop and King street one after the other talking or even texting on their cell phones. Ban or not, Hawaii News Now facebook fans see it happening, a lot.

"I have been almost hit at cross walks by drivers on their cells." says Rodney Murray.

MicahLee Baricar Nakadomari concurs, estimating "9 out of every 10 R on the fone or texting while driving."

Dr. Ileana Arias, Principal Deputy Director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, "Not only is the problem severe, it's not going away and in fact if anything, it's becoming a little bit worse over time."

Here are the numbers according to a new CDC study released today. One in 3 text while driving and a majority, 70 percent, admit to talking on their cell phones while behind the wheel. But how many actually get caught? In January on Oahu, police handed out 563 citations.

"How important is it to make a call while you're driving?" asks Honolulu Attorney Wayne Parsons. "Is it worth risking someone's life? Your life, someone else's life?

Honolulu Attorney Wayne Parsons is on a crusade to stop distracted drivers, inspired by Casey Feldman's story.

The 21 year old New Jersey girl was killed crossing the street by a driver who looked away for just a second.

Parsons uses Casey's story to educate Hawaii teens about the dangers.

Parsons is passionate about this problem, with a warning for distracted drivers: "You send or receive a text in the car, the average time you spend doing that is 4.6 seconds. Your car goes the length of a football field. Doing something like that is comparable to being blindfolded and driving for 5 seconds. Who would do that? "

Apparently a lot. Studies show the more time spent in a car, the more we multi-task, and the less we pay attention to the road.

"We all kid ourselves into thinking we're incredibly good multitaskers" says CDC Dr. Ileana Arias.

A prime example of that is a bus driver that Parsons shows at his presentations to high school students. The driver is caught on camera filling out forms while driving instead of focusing on his job.

Tickets on Oahu alone add up to one million dollars a year.

Some studies estimate one in 5 crashes is now linked to distracted driving. Cell phone records are now becoming key evidence in many cases.

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