Texting and Driving – a Deadly Combination

Texting & Driving – a Deadly Combination Article provided by: Christopher J. Zachar http://www.zacharassociates.com I recently watched a very real, very disturbing video. This video was created to show the dangers of texting while driving. It is my opinion that EVERY driver with a cell phone should watch this video. August 26, 2009 /24-7PressRelease/ — Texting & Driving – a Deadly Combination

Article provided by: Christopher J. Zachar http://www.zacharassociates.com

I recently watched a very real, very disturbing video. This video was created to show the dangers of texting while driving. It is my opinion that EVERY driver with a cell phone should watch this video.

Thirteen (13) states plus the District of Columbia have now banned text messaging while driving. The Arizona senate rejected a bill to prohibit text messaging statewide while driving earlier this year. Phoenix was the first city to ever do so back on September 24, 2007, but the rest of Arizona cities have failed to follow suit. Unfortunately, one Phoenix police officer has come out and stated that Phoenix’s current text messaging ban is "unenforceable" due to the way it is written. Apparently, police officers are not able to demand that a driver relinquish their cell phone even though the officer may have seen them texting prior to an accident. Because of this it is very hard to prove a person was text messaging.

Due to the fact that text messaging is a much newer technology than seatbelts or helmets, I can understand that there is come catching up for regulations. I would like to believe, however, that Arizonans do have basic common sense – at least, the amount it takes to see a major danger without having it blinking in neon lights. But, for those who need might require more than a subtle warning, please watch the video. It may be difficult to watch, however, the hope is that those who need it the most may get the wakeup call needed to truly understand the dangers of a seemingly harmless act.

I challenge those to do not see the hazards of texting and driving, to watch this video and then revisit your views on the subject. One statistic states that each year, 21% of fatal car crashes involving teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 were the result of cell phone usage. This result is expected to grow as much as 4% every year. Recently, an Amtrak train crashed in California, killing 25 people and injuring another 135, 40 of whom were in critical condition. The driver of the train failed to see a signal that would have cautioned him to slow the train. Afterward, evidence was found that showed the train operator had sent a text message less than a minute before the crash.

Research conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute studied the behavior of truck drivers, and covered more than 6 million miles of road. As part of the study, researchers installed cameras inside the vehicles, evaluating each driver on a points system, including the movement of the driver’s eyes as they performed various activities, such as talking on the cell phone, reaching for an object and text messaging. The results show that the greatest danger came from the tasks that took people’s eyes off the road for the longest period of time.

Text messaging provided the highest distraction rates of the four tasks, compared to driving with no distractions. The risk of a collision or even a close call is 23.2 times higher when compared with a driver who is not distracted. The data from the study shows that drivers who were text messaging had their attention taken away from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. That might not seem like much, but according to the study, 4.6 seconds is enough time to drive a vehicle the length of a football field at 55 mph.

In case of a truck driver reaching for a cell phone, the risk of an accident was 6.7 times as high as for a non-distracted driver. Instances where a truck driver is carrying on a cell phone conversation while driving, increases the risk of an accident or near accident by 1.3 times over a non-distracted driver. Finally, in cases where a truck driver was dialing a cell phone, the risk of a crash or near crash was 5.9 times as high that for a non-distracted driver.

While I will admit to having texted while driving, after watching this video, I now cannot imagine an instance where I would do so in the future. In fact, I have given my wife express permission to take my phone away from me if she sees me even thinking about such.

The seatbelt was invented in the 1880’s and the first patent for a motorcycle helmet appeared in 1953. The first seatbelt laws did not begin to appear until the mid to late 1980’s and mandatory helmet laws began to appear in 1966. Most states have gone back and forth over the last 34 years, repealing and reinstating and repealing these laws.

In comparison, text messaging was invented in the late 1980’s. Given the comparison to other safety-related laws, how long do you think is it going to take for statewide bans on text messaging to be enacted in every state?

Despite the obvious need a text messaging ban, or the evidence that ours appears to be unenforceable, I am certain most have sufficient common sense to refrain; especially after seeing videos such as the one that sparked me to write this article.

Please watch the video (http://www.engadget.com/tag/textingwhiledriving/) and keep it in mind when thinking about your priorities and responsibilities that go along with operating a motor vehicle. By exercising good judgment and making smart choices, we can help make our roads a safer place.

Article provided by: Christopher J. Zachar http://www.zacharassociates.com


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