The Dangers of Texting While Driving
This week, the state of New York joined 17 other states in signing a law that bans texting while driving for all drivers. As the crash and death rates continue to climb, and the evidence keeps mounting as to why it is necessary, there is a good chance that all states may soon join the ban. Texting while driving has come under fire increasingly, over the last couple of years, and many researchers, including the Ford Motor Company, believe it is right that it should.
The Problem with Texting
The problem with texting while driving is that it takes your eyes, and concentration, off the road and focuses it on your phone. Your mind is not equipped to split its attention between driving and typing a message. In fact, when the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute recently released a report on driving distractions, their study found that texting while driving made it more than 23 times more likely that you would be involved in a crash or near crash.
When you compare this with the 2.8 times increase in risk when dialing a cell phone and 1.3 times when talking on a cell phone, it really sheds new light on just how much more dangerous texting can be. In their conclusion, they recommended that a ban be placed on texting for all moving drivers.
The list of states that have already placed such texting bans on their books include Washington, Minnesota, Alaska, California, Colorado, and Oregon. Some states have signed such a bill into law and are waiting for it to take effect, while other states have placed the ban on teen drivers only.
While many states adopted the ban, each has placed their own twist on it. Penalties for the offense usually carry a small fine of roughly $20 to $50, depending upon how many times the person has been caught committing the offense. States also vary as to whether it is a primary or secondary offense. Because of this, those who regularly text and will be traveling to other states would be wise to research to see what the laws are in those states regarding text messaging while driving and cell phone usage.
Playing it Safe
There is no doubt that Americans have taken a liking to being able to text each other. In 2006 alone, it is reported that there were over 159 billion text messages sent, leaving one to wonder how many were exchanged while behind the wheel. In order to avoid traffic tickets, increases in your auto insurance, and an increase in your risk of being involved in a crash, always play it safe when it comes to texting.
If you must send or receive one at that moment, ask a passenger to do it, or pull over before proceeding with it. The one or two minutes that it takes to pull over may be a life saver.
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