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The Dangers of Driving and Texting

A recent national report reveals just how dangerous it can be to text while driving.

Nearly 1 out of 5 drivers surveyed has read or sent a text message while behind the while, even though nearly all of the respondents in the survey considered such action unacceptable.

In a statement accompanying the survey it was noted that:

The new technologies that help us multitask is our everyday lives and increasingly popular social media sites present a hard-to-resist challenge to the typically-safe driver. Enacting texting bans for drivers in all 50 states can halt the spread of this dangerous practice among motorist nationwide, and is a key legislative priority for AAA in state capitals.

Even though nearly all respondents considered the practice of texting unacceptable, 18% said they had sent a text message while driving within a month of being surveyed. In one survey it was reported that 93% of 1,000 licensed drivers supported a nationwide ban on texting while behind the wheel.

At least one surveys found that a all out ban is favored. About a dozen states have imposed prohibitions, and proposals for a nation ban have been introduced in Congress. The wireless industry –included cell phone manufactures, carriers, and some Internet companies represented by the CTIA-Wireless Association-support state and local efforts to ban texting while driving.

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have passed laws making texting while driving illegal and seven states and the District have banned driving while talking on handheld cell phone, according to the Insurance Institute for highway Safety. Many safety groups have urged a nationwide ban on texting and on using handheld mobile devices while behind the wheel.

The Obama administration reported that 58,790 people were killed and 515,000 injured last year in vehicle crashes connected to driver distraction. Distraction was involved in 16%of all fatal crashes in 2008. This is a good a good indication of the dangers of using mobile devices behind the wheel. The new data underscored the major problem of distractions involving young drivers. The greatest proportion of distracted drivers were those age 20 and under. Sixteen percent of all under 20 drivers involved in fatal crashes were reported to have been distracted while driving.

The Nation Safety Council wants a total ban on cell phone use while driving. Others have petitioned the government to restrict talking and texting by drivers of tractor trailers, motor coaches and large vans. And other groups have focused on texting, which has grown from nearly 10 billion messages a month in December 2005 to more than 110 billion in December 2008.

Texting Student Caused Fatal Crash

A jury found in a recent case tried in Texas that a Texas A&M University student was texting while driving, caused a deadly wreck, and ordered him to pay $22 million in damages. The victim, a senior at Baylor University, was driving to Waco when the November 2007 accident happened. The evidence at trial indicated a vehicle driven by the Defendant crossed the center line and struck the victim’s vehicle head-on. Phone records introduced indicated the Defendant sent and received 15 texts and made seven calls in the 45 minutes before the wreck.

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