Texting and Driving Can Hurt in More Ways Than One

Texting and Driving Can Hurt in More Ways Than One

Attractive Blonde Woman Text Messaging on Her Cell Phone While Driving.Although texting on the road might be convenient, it is also dangerous. Texting laws vary state to state. Oklahoma doesn’t specifically prohibit texting or cell-phone use while driving, while Texas laws state drivers below 18 are prohibited from using wireless communication devices. Looking for wireless communication devices for used cars in Dallas is more important for older drivers than buying a used car in Tulsa, where younger drivers can legally use those devices.

Many drivers might believe they can text a short message behind the wheel, but driving requires the operator of the vehicle to keep his or her eyes on the road at all times. Plugging in words on a cell phone makes this much more difficult— and potentially fatal.

The National Safety Council says texting and driving simultaneously causes many accidents, specifically 1.6 million accidents per year. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Fatality Facts, it causes 11 deaths daily.

Want more stats? The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration notes texting while driving is the same as driving after four beers and makes a person 23 times more likely to crash.

Dozens of teens gathered in Bloomington, Minn., for a Peer Education Summit on Distracted Driving, an event covered by KARE in St. Paul/Minneapolis. The students slipped behind the wheel of a high-tech simulator to see what could happen when drivers pay more attention to their smartphones than the roads.

In a virtual simulator, Rachel Eiler of Spring Lake Park ended up running a stop sign and fatally injuring two pedestrians on a crosswalk. Eiler says she was shocked because she thought she was a pretty good driver who could “fiddle and be distracted.” Well, it turns out she can’t.

Instead of using a vehicle simulator, Car and Driver used a real vehicle on the taxiway at Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport in Oscoda, Mich. Test subjects had devices with “QWERTY” keypads. The driver was to hit the brakes when a red light on the windshield lit. While the drivers read a text message aloud, they performed the driving procedure again.

What followed was a trial with the drivers typing that message, using their phones as they would on a public street to simulate a real-life situation. After they exited the vehicle, they consumed enough alcohol until they reached a 0.08 percent blood-alcohol content, which is the legal limit for driving. They then got back in the car and took the light-and-brake test without texting.

The reaction time and extra distance traveled were much worse when texting than when impaired.

Fatal and non-fatal accidents cause insurance rates to rise, plus lead to the hassle of getting a new vehicle. The emotional toll, though, can be unbearable. Kena H. writes on TextingThumbBands.com that she lost her younger brother, who was texting, in an accident. His fiancée survived with minor cuts and scrapes, but her scars are emotional, Kena says.

The key elements to driving safely is what’s been drummed in people’s heads throughout the years: Keep your eyes on the road.

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