One could guess that texting while dangerous is dangerous. Now, researchers have seen it with their own eyes.
The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute released the findings of a study in which video cameras were installed in the cabs of semis.
The findings provide further evidence that texting while driving is extremely dangerous, perhaps even as dangerous as driving under the influence.
Researchers observed that the more than 100 truckers involved in the project were 23 times more likely to crash while receiving or sending a text message during the 18-month period of study. On average, texting drew the eyes of a trucker away from the road for five seconds -- long enough to travel 300 feet at highway speeds.
Indianapolis State Laws Banning Texting While Driving
Currently, 14 states ban texting while driving, including Alaska, California, Louisiana New Jersey, and New York, while 36 do not. Since the advent of texting, few law-enforcement agencies have begun collecting information on the use of the technology while driving, a factor that impacts the currently available data.
CTIA, a trade group for the mobile phone industry, reports that Americans sent more than 100 billion text messages in December 2008.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration provided $300,00 of the $6 million cost of the study.
Mobile phone use in general, and texting, specifically, represent just one more distraction for motorists. Between talking to passengers, adjusting the radio, sipping coffee, and applying make-up, drivers don't need one more thing to tempt their limited attention resources.
A prior study from the Virginia group found that drivers were 1.3 times more likely to crash when talking on a phone and more likely to crash or have a near-miss when dialing.
Unless people refrain from texting while driving or all states strictly enforce laws against texting while driving, the problem is sure to turn into a deadly epidemic. Those injured in accidents with distracted drivers should seek medical attention immediately.
If police declare the other party to be at-fault, legal action could be warranted. In some cases, victims could be entitled to reimbursement of medical expenses, recovery of lost wages if work is missed and even compensation for pain and suffering, past and present.