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Just How Distracted is a ‘Texting’ Driver?

A texting driver is completely distracted while on the road. Driving while text messaging is about as safe as driving with your eyes closed. It’s no wonder that the scourge of texting on our roadways has resulted in many deaths and injuries, all of which could have been avoided. Until this trend is reversed, expect more collisions to occur because of careless driving.

Some Statistics on Texting and Driving

Every day, approximately one million people use their cell phones while driving. The average text message consumes a driver’s attention for almost five seconds. That might not sound like much, but consider: If your car is going 60 mph, taking your eyes off of the road for five seconds means that you’ll travel 440 feet without seeing the road. A sudden obstacle could arise or another motorist might cut you off. According to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, a person who is driving while texting is 23 times more likely to crash than a driver who’s focused on his surroundings.

Making Texting While Driving Illegal

There is currently no federal law in the U.S. banning texting while driving. However, some states, like Georgia, have established such laws. The first state to make text messaging illegal for drivers was Washington; its legislature passed that law in 2007.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL),14 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving.  Police officers in many of those places will be allowed to stop motorists who are operating cell phones even if they have not committed any other traffic violations. Washington D.C. and 37 states now prohibit novice drivers from using phones.  Forty-six states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers.

The Fight Against Texting and Driving Begins at Home

It’s hugely important that you discuss with your children the hazards of texting behind the wheel. It’s equally important that you set firm rules against it. It’s vital that you set a good example and always refrain from driving while texting.