Study shows military service members admit to texting while driving

43 percent of active-duty military service members admit doing so

Author: Tim Pulliam, General assignment reporter, tpulliam@wjxt.com
Troy Blevins, Online Editor, Producer
Published On: Jan 30 2014 09:05:08 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 30 2014 11:50:02 PM EST
Texting and driving
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Forty-one states and Washington, D.C. have a ban on texting while driving. But a new study by the United Services Automobile Association suggests 43 percent of active-duty military service members admit to doing it.

The study targeted 900 active-duty service members from nine communities with a large military presence, including Jacksonville. The study found many of these service members admitted to texting while driving.

The issue hit close to home for Megan Miller, a former member of the U.S. Air Force. She doesn't text and drive, but she said her husband, a service member at NAS Jax, does.

"Every time he comes home and says, 'So and so texted me,' I ask, 'Did you read it while you were driving?' and he says, 'Yes I did,' and I say, 'Shame, do not text and drive please,'" said Miller.

It's an issue the USAA is revealing with the new study. The group interviewed service members across the five service branches. It found:

"Service members should be setting an example. Service members are in the public eye," said Jacksonville resident Scott Bennett. "They wear a uniform for a reason."

The USAA said military service members who were deployed are less likely to text and drive.

"Maybe they were forced to focus on driving because they were faced with a life-and-death situation in a hostile environment," said Joel Camarano, USAA assistant vice president of auto underwriting.

Of the Jacksonville members who were surveyed, 68 percent of them said they would likely stop texting while driving if a high-ranking officer or their installation commander told them to stop.

The USAA has sent the study to high-ranking safety officers at each military base. It is hoping it will start a conversation on keeping members from texting while driving.