Despite a massive public safety effort aimed squarely at getting drivers, especially young teen drivers, to pay attention while they drive and put down their handheld devices, the number of teen drivers who are texting behind the wheel has doubled since 2010.

Arstechnica reviewed data made available by the National highway Traffic safety Administration. The NHTSA recently completed a comprehensive review of driving habits, with an emphasis on distracted driving. Their study showed that getting drivers to avoid the use of handheld devices was an uphill battle, even in states with strict penalties for those who violate statewide bans on the habit. Most striking, however, is that Arstechnica found the rate of teen drivers who text behind the wheel has doubled since 2010 with now nearly half of all teen drivers admitting they text while driving.

And if almost half actually admit they text while driving, the fact is that a lot more teens probably ARE texting while driving.

Almost all states have some form of distracted driving ban in place, and of the few remaining states without one, efforts are currently underway to enact one. Despite these bans, however, the rate of texting while driving, or simply distracted driving related crashes, has been rising steadily.

This hardly settles the debate over distracted driving and the laws being enacted to combat it. Some say the results of the study means more needs to be done, while others are saying that more laws simply are not the answer. The meantime, as public safety advocates and legislators debate, the number of collisions related to distracted driving continues to climb.