LAS VEGAS -- Metro Police traffic officers issued almost 10,000 tickets last year to people who texted while driving.
According to a new nationwide study, younger drivers appear to be getting the message about the dangers of texting and driving more than their adult counterparts.
Brian LaVoie knows the pain of losing someone special because a driver was texting while behind the wheel. His daughter Hillary died in 2010 on her way back to Las Vegas from Reno with a couple of friends. Authorities said cell phone use by a teen driver was likely to blame for the crash.
"The teen driver in the crash that Hillary was killed in doesn't remember using her cell phone," LaVoie said. "We've lost our daughter, and she's not going to come back."
Laws banning cell phone use have now been put on the books around the country, including in Nevada.
The latest AAA study, which surveyed more than 2,300 licensed drivers age 16 and older, shows teens are putting down phones more often compared with adults.
Thirty one percent of 16 to 18 year-olds say they sent a text or e-mail while driving. The number grows to 45 percent for young adults ages 25 to 39.
Safeway Driving School instructor Bruce Sampson said younger teens he's taught seem to be putting phones down.
"It's displayed in their driving habits. It's displayed in their focus and paying attention to what's happening in front of them and what's happening on the road," Sampson said. "I can distinguish between the sincere student and one that is just saying it to be saying it."
Sampson knows a lot about teen driving. He spent 15 years with the Department of Motor Vehicles. He is also a retired military veteran.
While the study shows promise, Brian LaVoie said it also shows there are still people out there endangering the lives of others and changing families forever.