Texting Distractions Often Turn Deadly
Although 14 U.S. states have passed measures to ban texting while driving, Americans continue to type away behind the wheel. The New York Times recently reported that drivers using phones are four times as likely to cause a crash as other drivers. In fact, the likelihood of a crash is equal to that of someone with a .08 (or legally intoxicated) blood alcohol level.
But Americans are ignoring the research and continuing to multitask. New studies say that drivers overestimate their ability to safely use their phones on the road. Some researchers say that the only way to stop drivers using their cell phones is to disable the device. Makers of the devices agree that multitasking and driving can cause accidents, but no cellphone company supports legislation that bans drivers from talking or texting. In several states, and most recently in New York, fines on texting while driving can only be imposed as a secondary offense after a driver is pulled over for breaking another law.
A 2003 Harvard study estimated that cellphone distractions cause 2,600 traffic deaths each year, and 330,000 of these accidents result in moderate to serious injuries.