By Chelsea Karnash
MADISON, NJ (CBS) – A new study out of a northern New Jersey university shows that drivers in the Garden State continue to disregard the speed limit and text while behind the wheel—among other bad habits.
One in three respondents to the study, which was done by Fairleigh Dickinson University, says they drive 70 miles per hour “most of the time” or “often,” and those with commutes of 20 miles or more and those under 30 were most likely to speed.
And while the number of those who text while driving has decreased from 25% in 2011 to 19% in 2012, a survey of the youngest drivers shows that 48% continue to text—a much higher percentage than all other age groups.
“Forty-eight percent is an improvement,” said Dan Cassino, a political science professor and the principal investigator of the study, “but the fact that half of the least experienced drivers are still texting while driving is terrifying. It looks like outreach programs have been working, but they’re not yet enough.”
This could be attributed to the fact that 15% of drivers under 30 think texting while driving is legal, while only 2% of drivers overall mistakenly thought so.
Still, there were some positive findings: 91% of drivers continue to wear their seatbelts, a number that’s on par with last year’s 90% statistic. And the use of handheld phones is on the decrease, falling from 25% in 2011 to just 9% in 2012.
Despite the data, 72% of New Jersey drivers think their skills behind the wheel are above average. The real problem, according to study respondents, is drivers from New York: 52% of Jersey drivers label Empire State drivers the worst of the neighboring states.