According to the Governors Highway Safety Association there was a nearly 20 percent increase in the number of drivers between 16 and 17 years old as a result of distracted driving during the first half of 2012 alone.

Although no one is actually exactly certain the increase was due to vehicle collisions caused by texting and driving, state highway officials feel confident it is and their input was important to the formula used to formulate the governor’s report.

Texting while driving is arguably the most dangerous behavior behind the wheel. The annual number of collisions caused by distracted driving continues to increase even as more and more states pass laws banning the behavior completely. Some states are empowering police to make stops on anyone the see using a handheld device behind the wheel for any reason, but still, the numbers continue to grow.

As every parent of a teenager probably already knows, they don’t go anywhere without their cell phone. And they likely don’t think twice about using it behind the wheel. This might be for a phone call or it might be to read a text message. It only takes a second for them to lose sight of the road ahead and be involved in a deadly collision.

More than half of all states reported dramatic increases in teen driving deaths last year. Coupled with the data from the Governor’s report, it seems likely that more states will be taking a closer look at their existing teen driving laws and statewide distracted driving bans. We wouldn’t be surprised to see changes to both in a number of states.