It's official. Texting while driving is incredibly dangerous and increases the chances a motorist will become involved in an Orange County, California traffic accident. While motorists and state lawmakers have known this for some time--since January it has been illegal to text while driving in California--findings from a Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study bring this reality home.
The study found that of all the tasks that cause truck drivers to take their eyes off the road, sending text messages is the most dangerous one and increases the chances that truckers will become involved in a truck accident by 23 times. This task generally requires drivers to take their eyes off the road for nearly five seconds--and if they are driving at a speed of 55 mph, in this amount of time they will have traveled the length of a football field with their eyes on their communication device and not on the vehicles around them.
The study says that dialing a cell phone while driving is also dangerous. This task increases a truck driver's chances of being involved in a truck accident by almost six times, while increasing car driver's crash risk by three.
The study used actual drivers for its research, including 203 truck drivers. Large trucks with video cameras were used. Footage captured truckers' reactions right before a truck accident or near truck collision. 21 truck crashes and 197 near crashes were captured on video, in addition to more than 4,000 other events thought to be safety critical.
Although news of the dangers of texting while driving isn't new news--an AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reveals that 87% of Americans consider email and texting serious driving hazards (1 out of 5 drivers do it anyway)--hopefully this latest information will remind drivers that texting and driving at the same time is a form of distracted driving that can become negligent driving if someone gets hurt or dies as a result.
Not all states have laws banning texting while driving. This week, a number of US senators called on all states to ban this bad habit or face reductions in highway funding. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute's latest study comes on the heels of last week's that the NHTSA knew as far back as several years ago about the dangers of using both hands-free and hand-held cell phones when driving but decided to sit on the information. Think of how many lives could have been saved if people found out then what we are just learning now.
Texting while driving is unsafe anywhere, SF Gate, July 31, 2009
Lawmakers propose ban on texting while driving, AP, July 30, 2009
Texting, e-mailing, crashing, dying, OregonLive, July 29, 2009
Highway agency wanted total cell phone ban, MSNBC, July 21, 2009
Related Web Resources:
Cell Phone Driving Laws, GHSA
To speak to an Orange County, California truck crash law firm about your personal injury case, contact Howard Law, LLP today.