Driving And Texting


Driver distractions have always been a leading factor in car and truck accidents. With the advancements in cell phone technology, a new distraction is jumping to the forefront. Driving and texting is quickly becoming more dangerous than eating or visiting with friends. The problem has become so acute that many states have introduced laws banning texting and driving. House Bill 323 introduced in the Florida legislature, would specifically restrict both composing and reading text messages while driving. Fourteen other states currently have similar laws in the books.

Driver Distractions

Problems with texting and driving have not been statistically measured yet since the technology has only recently exploded in the last few years. Inattentive driving however is the leading cause of car and truck accidents. According to one recent study performed in 2008, more than 800,000 people were texting or making calls while driving. Obviously, this sort of activity could definitely be classified as a driver distraction. Other traditional distractions include:

Talking with other passengers Eating and drinking Operating the radio Applying make up Reading a map

Talking on the cell phone and texting is quickly becoming the leading distraction for American drivers.

Cell Phones and Texting

Although no conclusive studies have been done on texting related accidents, some estimates put cell phone related accidents at 342,000 costing $34 billion dollars per year. Hands free cell phones are not the answer as it the conversation itself that causes the distraction not managing the phone. Texting however, compounds the danger, as the hands are needed to carry on the conversation. Text messaging, also known as texting, is the exchange of brief messages over cell phone networks between two hand held cell phones or other electronic devices. Advances in technology now include all sorts of media, including:

Video clips Music downloads Images

Today, text messaging is the most popular mobile data service, with almost 74 percent of cell phone users worldwide using the Short Message Services (SMS) features of their phones, more than regular phone conversations.

New Texting Regulations

Enforcement of text messaging laws currently in place have proven difficult to prove. In most cases, there is no way to determine if someone was texting unless they admit it to a police officer. Even then, the fines are minimal and are probably not enough to deter the behavior. Lawmakers are finding it difficult to pass tough laws because of the enormous cell phone lobby and the extreme popularity of these electronic gadgets.

Recently, President Obama signed an executive order banning driving and texting by federal employees. The Department of Transportation has also banned commercial truckers and bus drivers from texting while driving, with fines of up to $2,750 imposed for violations. The problem with all federal and local bans is with enforcement.

It is very difficult to prove that an accident was caused by driver distraction, let alone to pinpoint the blame on text messaging. In many cases, the laws that are on the books bans texting, but allows limited use of cell phones. Law enforcement officials are at a disadvantage by having to prove the distraction. Many laws also make texting a secondary offence, not a primary one, so a police officer would be unable to pull someone over even if they observe them texting.


Source by Patricia Woloch